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Opinion : How do you set up a Town Council in High Wycombe?

| November 7, 2018

There’s a lot of talk in High Wycombe at the moment about the creation of a Town Council.

Yes, yours truly has written quite a few blogs recently about Town Councils and the demise of the current District and County Councils but I’m sure you may find this blog enlightening as to what needs to be done to set a Town Council up.

Did you know that in England there are 10,000 local councils with over 30% of the country parished and 80,000 councillors who serve in these local councils?

Aylesbury and Marlow have Town Councils but High Wycombe does not. This means that when the current District Council disappears in 2020 the position of the Mayor of High Wycombe may disappear too.

So how is a Town Council set up? My good self is not expert on the matter and yours truly may be wrong with what follows next.

After doing a little research (see ‘References’ section below), for which your humble servant was thankfully helped by those who run the WycombeToday.com website, it seems the UK Government website clearly sets out the procedure for creation a Town or Parish Council.

To create a local council a Community Governance Review (CGR) needs to be triggered.

The CGR can be triggered either by a principal authority themselves or by the local community through the submission of a petition.

So the powers that be who oversee High Wycombe could simply decide to trigger a CGR and eventually a Town Council for High Wycombe might be created. Easy isn’t it?

But failing the easy option the local community can simply organise a petition and submit it to the principal authority which forces them to conduct a CGR within 12 months of submission of the petition.

The principal authority will launch a consultation to ask residents to state whether they are in favour or against the establishment of a local council. At the end of the consultation period, the principal authority will review the responses before reaching a decision. If the principal authority decides in favour of a Parish Council it will also set the date for the first election.

However there’s a catch, in a town the size of Wycombe the residents petition needed to trigger a CGR must be signed by at least 7.5% of the electors. That’s a lot of signatures.

There is also a third way of triggering a CGR. If a neighbourhood forum exists that’s had a neighbourhood development plan passed at referendum it can also trigger a community governance review without needing a petition.

So will there ever be a Town Council in High Wycombe? Sadly my good self fears it to be unlikely. If there was going to be one it would be been set up by now.

However perhaps when it dawns on those who are losing their seats in April 2020 that they won’t be able to stand for election, sit on committees or attend municipal meetings any more they may decide to trigger a CGR to give themselves something to do?

Perhaps the residents will start a petition? It’s possible but time is running out.

Of course as mentioned in my previous blog entitled ‘Is there an alternative to a Town Council in High Wycombe?‘ some of the powers that a Town Council in High Wycombe needs have already been given to other organisations and the powers would need to be taken back for a Town Council to be effective.

Who knows what will happen, only time will tell. It would be a terrible shame to lose the Mayoralty in Wycombe though….

What do you think?


  1. Gov.uk : Set up a town or parish council.
  2. National Association of Local Councils : Create a Council.

My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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