Councils feud over boundaries
Two parish councils are embroiled in a war of words over boundary changes, with one accusing the other of "aggressive" behaviour with "no logical reasoning".
Councillor Simon Stacey, the chairman of Church Aston Parish Council, has said he and his fellow councillors will do everything they can to oppose what he called an “aggressive” extension of boundaries by Newport Town Council.
But the claims have been refuted by officials at the town authority.
Councillor Stacey said: “We have been aware of Newport Town Council’s intentions to seek a boundary review for some months now and have resolved to do everything that we can to stop their aggressive approach. We believe there is no logical reasoning behind their plans to change these historical boundaries other than increasing the amount of council tax that they collect.
“We are particularly concerned that people were recently canvassed outside of the Waitrose store to sign a petition supporting a boundary review."
Councillor Stacey said he was concerned that people asked to sign had not been given the information to make an informed decision.
He said: "These are important constitutional matters and it is imperative that local people form their views based on all of the relevant facts, and I am concerned that many may have signed a petition without the relevant information.
“Newport Town Council has not even extended the courtesy of letting us know about their intentions. The formal process leading to a boundary review is long and bureaucratic and so there will be plenty of opportunities for us to make our case opposing their plans which we believe to be very strong.”
In response Lee Jakeman, clerk of Newport Town Council, said: “I would advise Newport residents that the move is absolutely born out of a logical thought process and seeks to provide with the utmost integrity the information that is available and considered relevant. To suggest otherwise is wholly inaccurate.
“The topic has been the subject of town council meetings held in view of the public and recorded openly.
“The town council’s position has been summarised quite openly; it has been on the front page of our website for a couple of weeks and much of the Guildhall window in the High Street is dedicated to providing information. Councillor Stacey acknowledges that he has been aware of intentions for some months.
“Newport Town councillors engaged in collecting signatures are aware that only residents of Newport on the electoral roll can sign the petition. For councillors to attempt to engage the residents they represent seems to be a reasonable course of action.
“As background, Newport Town Council approached Telford & Wrekin Council a number of years ago to ask them to consider regularising the boundary of Newport, prompted by a national review conducted by the boundary commission and a planning application for 55 homes on Station Road. Recent changes in the internal processes of Telford & Wrekin Council have meant that it would not now consider the matter formally until a petition of nearly 700 Newport residents is signed.
“Newport Town Council is merely seeking a review of the boundary that will likely consider some competing demands. There will undoubtedly be a number of varying views expressed if the review occurs and it is for the review process to consider them and come to a reasonable conclusion.”