What area will the new council cover?
- Shipley ward polling district 22B Hirst Wood/Saltaire/Wycliffe vote at Saltaire Methodist Church.
- ShipleySward polling district 22C south of Wycliffe/Crowgill Park/ Commercial St./Westgate/Dockfield Road.
- Shipley ward polling district 22D Moorhead/Nab Wood east to Farfield Road.
- Shipley ward polling district 22E Norman Rae playing fields, Norwood down to Kirkgate Station Road. South of the river Aire, east of the Bankfield hotel and river Aire; west of Bradford Beck, north of Northcliffe Woods (please see map).
Please note: in the immediate future, it shall be the working assumption of the Steering Group and its members that the Shipley Town Council it seeks is likely to cover BMDC polling districts 22B, 22C, 22D and 22E. The Group does not rule out the possibility that other, neighbouring polling districts may be included in its final request for a Governance Review. The Group is ready to discuss this possibility openly with local people but will not actively campaign to secure the inclusion of other polling districts.
Why aren’t we including Windhill or Wrose?
Wrose already has its own Parish Council which was established in 2004.
There is a well advanced initiative in progress to set up a community council for Windhill. This has already gathered local support and signatures and is being put forward for formal consideration with support from the local District Councillors. Trying to include Windhill in a Shipley Town Council would put the success of proposals for both Windhill and Shipley at risk.
We hope that a Shipley Town Council will lead to improvements in the town centre which will benefit everyone who uses facilities here, including residents of Windhill. We would also hope that any future councils will cooperate around cross community issues to everyone’s benefit.
What will a local council do? How will it make things better?
For a start it means that the views of local people will be put forward on planning applications. It also means that the council can provide local facilities for local people, like children’s play grounds and youth shelters. It also means it can run its own community hall and have a drop in centre for mothers and toddlers and for OAP groups.
Won’t we be paying twice for services when Bradford Metropolitan District Council pays for these in other areas?
The services Shipley Town Council will be providing will be over and above those provided by BMDC. Shipley Town Council will work alongside BMDC to ensure the best possible service provision. By working together the councils should be able to improve services all round.
Isn’t this just another layer of bureaucracy?
You could look at it like that but the reality is that it brings decision making closer to the public. All issues discussed will have a direct relevance to Shipley and if you attend meetings as a member of the public you will have the opportunity to have your say about things before the council discusses them.
Who will pay for a local council?
The council tax payers of the area. Initially BMDC will set a level of “precept” which will be in line with the precept in other areas (maybe around £15 on band D). In subsequent years Shipley Town council will decide what services to provide and estimates what they will cost. This is spread across all the council tax payers in the area and added to council tax bills by BMDC. The cost of raising money this way is called precepting and the money raised is called the precept.
How much will it cost?
This depends on what the council does in its first year but for council tax payers it should work out around £15 on band D for a whole year.
Does this mean we can have our own mayor?
If and when a Shipley Town Council is formed it can decide to call itself a Town Council – then the chairperson of the Shipley Town Council can be known as the Mayor.
I can’t afford to pay any more council tax!
The precept raised will be targeted to benefit the local community it will not go to BMDC. If you have difficulty in paying your council tax then BMDC may be able to help through its hardship fund which is means tested.
Isn’t this just so that councillors get even more expenses?
Unlike councillors on BMDC, Shipley Town Councillors will not be paid allowances for attending meetings etc. If councillors have to attend meetings outside the area then it is reasonable that their expenditure is reimbursed. Shipley Town Council will have to employ a clerk but this will be part time and on a national scale which means that smaller councils pay less per hour than larger councils.
Isn’t this more jobs for the boys?
No – anyone who is on the electoral register for the area will be able to stand for election. That is one of the big benefits of having a local council – it will be local people taking decisions for local people.
Who will decide where our money goes?
Shipley Town council will vote on where and when to spend your money. Obviously decisions have to be made as to where and when to spend money and some of these decisions might be controversial but all councillors will have an opportunity to vote. No individual councillor can spend money as, by law, all decisions have to be taken by the council.
Does this mean we can stop paying our council tax to BMDC?
No – you still have to pay your council tax to BMDC as it covers things like social services, education, police, fire service, highways, libraries etc.
We’ve already got a good community association – why do we need a council?
There aren’t any overarching community centres to represent Shipley. Groups such as Saltaire Village Society cover a particular area. BMDC and community groups should work closely together but the important thing about Shipley Town Council is that you will decide who makes the decisions and you will be able to vote out those people who you think are not doing a good job. A local council can also only do things allowed by law and it has to be accountable to the public. This means that generally meetings have to be open to the public and its accounts have to be published every year so that everyone knows how much has been spent and on what.
How will the new council work with existing community groups? Won’t they lose their influence because BMDC will go to the new council rather than them?
The whole idea of a local council is to give a democratic voice to the community. There will always be special interest groups in the community which is a good thing. It will however be the responsibility of Shipley Town Council to speak on behalf of everybody – not just those who have the loudest voice or who have links with only a limited number of people. Quite often it is those with no voice who have greatest need.
Given the current financial climate I thought we were supposed to be cutting down on public expenditure!
Yes BMDC has to reduce its spending and that will have an effect on services in Shipley. The great thing about Shipley Town Council is that it will only be able to spend money which will be of benefit to the Shipley community which means that every pound spent will improve things locally.
How will this fit in with BMDC’s idea of neighbourhood management?
If neighbourhood management is just community consultation then effectively decisions will still be taken by BMDC rather than people living in the area. The advantage of a Shipley Town Council is that when BMDC has proposals for Shipley it can contact Shipley Town Council and ask for its views. Those views will reflect the thoughts of the local community. A Shipley Town Council also gives a democratically elected body to talk to it is considering devolving some services, i.e. looking at the possibility of the local community managing some services.
What is a councillor?
Councillors are elected onto a council to represent a specific geographical area. In smaller parishes councillors represent the whole area but larger councils are split into smaller divisions called “wards”. This is to ensure fair representation. Councillors are generally elected by the public every four years.
How are councillors elected?
Councillors are elected by secret ballot, normally timed to coincide with the BMDC and other elections. Anyone can stand as a councillor so long as they meet the qualification criteria.
You must be 18 years of age or over at the date of your nomination and a British or Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or a citizen of another member state of the European Union. And either:
- Be a registered local government elector for the parish both on the day you are nominated and election day; or
- Have occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the parish during the whole of the twelve months before the day you are nominated; or
- Your principal or only place of work in the twelve months before the day you are nominated has been in the parish; or
- You must have lived in the parish or within 4.8 kilometres (3 miles), during the whole of the twelve months before the day you are nominated.
If the council has a vacancy, then subject to satisfying regulations, it may co-opt as part of the election process. This means that it can appoint a qualifying person to the council for the unexpired term of office. Your local councils association can advise on how this is done. To stand for office you must obtain a nomination paper from the returning officer for your principal council. This must be signed by a Proposer and a Seconder then returned to the returning officer by the time stipulated.
What do councillors do?
Councillors have three main components to their work.
- Decision making – through meetings and attending committees councillors decide which activities to support, where money should be spent, what services should be delivered and what policies should be implemented.
- Monitoring – councillors make sure that their decisions lead to efficient and effective services by keeping an eye on how well things are working;
- Getting involved locally – as local representatives, councillors have responsibilities towards their constituents and local organisations.
These may include:
- Going to meetings of local organisations such as tenants’ associations
- Going to meetings of bodies affecting the wider community
- Taking up issues on behalf of members of the public
- Running a surgery for residents to bring up issues
How are decisions taken?
The council makes decisions by councillors voting. A proposal is carried so long as it has the majority of votes cast. In the event of a tie, the Chair (or Mayor) also has a casting vote. The same rules apply to committees and sub committees.
How much time does being a councillor take up?
This depends on the individual councillor. What is important is that when you are elected as a councillor you have a duty to attend meetings. Whilst you may have volunteered to be a councillor it is important to remember that it is a statutory role and with the office comes responsibility. In the main, being a community, parish or town councillor is an enjoyable way of contributing to your community, and helping to make it a better place to live and work.
Can I be a councillor?
So long as you meet the qualification criteria (see how are councillors elected) unless you are disqualified for any of the following reasons:
- You are subject of a bankruptcy restriction order or interim order;
- You have, within five years before the date of election, been convicted in the United Kingdom of any offence and have had a sentence of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) for a period of over three months without the option of a fine.
- You work for the council you want to become a councillor for (but you can work for other authorities, including BMDC that represent the same area).
I am not a member of a political party and do not want to be!
Most community, parish and town councillors are not party political. If you wish to stand as a party political candidate, you are welcome to do so but would need permission from the relevant party.
I have heard something called the localism Bill. What is this and does it affect local councils?
This was published in December 2010 and aims to shift power away from central government back into the hands of individuals, communities and councils. Key points affecting local councils include:
- A power for local people to approve or veto excessive council tax rises;
- A right for local councils to express an interest in running local services;
- The chance for communities to develop a bid and raise the capital to buy local community assets
- The power to instigate a local referendum on any local issue;
- A new general power which will allow councils, including certain local councils to do anything apart from that which is specifically prohibited;
- Relaxation of the Code of Conduct regime and abolition of the standards board for England. Councils will be expected instead to promote and maintain high standards of conduct;
- Changes to the Community Infrastructure Levy including provisions requiring some of these funds to be passed to neighbourhoods where the development has taken place;
- A new right for local councils to shape their areas through neighbourhood plans. This will enable local communities to permit development without a need for planning applications and to take forward development in their area subject to meeting certain criteria.