SOME 50 representatives of voluntary groups in Bingley and neighbouring communities have attended a meeting about forming a council for the town.

The event was organised by Bingley Community Council Group which is campaigning for a town, parish or community council covering Bingley, Cottingley, Crossflatts, Eldwick, Gilstead and Micklethwaite.

Ros Dawson, who chairs BCCG, said: “We are very pleased by the response.

"There was some good debate and interesting questions at the information event. Generally, the idea has resulted in positive comment. People feel a local council will give us a voice.

“Many people have urged us to ‘just get on with it’ and asked ‘when can we start?’.

"People are also keen to ensure any council would be truly representative and also that the council is affordable. This is all valuable and useful feedback.”

Speaking at the town’s Arts Centre, Mrs Dawson gave a presentation about the proposal and delegates also heard from Chris Pilkington, deputy chief officer of the Yorkshire Local Councils Associations, and Terry Brown, vice-chairman of Bingley Civic Trust.

Mr Brown told the meeting that the Trust supports the creation of a local council particularly because it would be consulted about planning applications and other issues affecting Bingley and the area:

“Bradford District Council is only six miles down the road, but does it have the interests of Bingley in mind?” Mr Brown asked.

“ Bradford is trying to close the swimming pool, the public toilets without consultation and intends to sell off the Town Hall.

“Bingley area needs to continue and develop its identity in West Yorkshire as a market town, a tourist hotspot and as a place that residents can be proud of. We believe a local council will help to achieve this,” he said.

BCCG now plans to have stalls at Eldwick Gala, Bingley Show and to talk to any local groups interested in the proposal. This will be followed in September by public meetings to launch a petition which is the first official step towards creating a local council.

The petition must be signed by ten per cent of the electorate and once the required numbers of signatures is reached, the petition will be presented to Bradford Council. It must then carry out a consultation process, known as a Community Governance Review, to decide whether or not the local council can be established.

The campaign by Bingley Community Council Group is supported by a £10,000 grant from the New Councils’ Programme run by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The Programme encourages communities up and down the country to set up new parish councils, with changes in legislation and fresh investment making it easier to do so. The funding is administered through the Yorkshire Local Councils Association (YLCA) which has helped BCCG secure the grant.