It’s all change for towns and parishes

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It could be musical chairs for the town and parish councillors in the Dunstable area.

A consultation by Central Bedfordshire Council is proposing cuts in the numbers of unpaid councillors in the area.

It follows on from a consultation last year into the future of governance in the area.

Under the proposals, Dunstable Town Council will lose three posts and Eaton Bray will lose two. Harlington councillors will be reduced to seven along with Kensworth. Toddington parish council will be reduced to nine, and Totternhoe reduced to seven.

Houghton Regis could have its boundary changed to include the properties at Nos 21 to 33 Portland Ride from Dunstable, but there will be no further change until a substantial number of the proposed development in the Houghton Hall ward has been completed.

Parish or town councils are typically responsible for looking after certain local facilities such as allotments, bus shelters, parks, playgrounds, public seats, public toilets, public clocks, village or town halls, maintenance of footpaths, cemeteries, village greens and various leisure and recreation facilities but this can vary between councils.

Cllr Richard Wenham, Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Member for Corporate Resources said: “It’s not very often we have a chance to change the way we are represented at a local level. This only tends to happen once every 10 years or so.

“This consultation is a valuable opportunity for people living in Central Bedfordshire to have their say, as part of the democratic process, on local representation.

“Although it may sound like quite an obscure thing to ask people to consider, it is really important. For example, where there are boundary changes this could directly impact on those residents as it potentially means they move to a different town or parish council and that could mean a change in local services and council tax.”

The consultation is open until 6 July 2018 and will mean that any agreed changes will be implemented in time for the next elections for town and parish councils in May 2019. It is available at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations