A CAMPAIGN pushing for more political freedom for Bingley took a step forward when a petition signed by more than 2,000 residents was handed in.

The signatures were gathered in just three months, which is thought to be one of the fastest results of its kind.

Bingley Community Council Group (BCCG) delivered the 2,175-name petition to Bradford Council at City Hall yesterday.

Ros Dawson, chairman of BCCG, said: “This is a tremendous result achieved thanks to strong backing for the proposal from all parts of the community.

"Traders have hosted petition sheets in shops, cafes and pubs. Churches and voluntary groups have also leant their support and many individuals have distributed leaflets and gathered signatures from family, friends and neighbours.

"The contribution from so many people and the way everyone has pulled together shows the breadth of support and enthusiasm for a new town council.”

BCCG also held a stall on Bingley market on Saturdays in the run-up to Christmas when volunteers braved freezing temperatures to gather hundreds of signatures, raise awareness of the campaign and support the market.

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), funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government and delivered locally by the Yorkshire Local Councils Associations (YLCA).

Cllr Ken Browse, NALC Chairman, said: “Huge congratulations to the Bingley area on this stunning achievement in so short a time. It’s one of the quickest times I can recall such a large amount of signatures for a local council being collated nationally.”

Cllr Derek Liddell, YLCA Chairman, said “The Yorkshire Local Councils Associations are excited to hear of the progress made so quickly by the Bingley Campaign Group and we will continue to work with them during the community governance review period. Bradford Council has a good track record of strengthening grassroots democracy through creating new parish and town councils and we looking forward to the creation of a new local council to serve the people of Bingley.”

Now the petition is lodged with Bradford Council, the signatures will be checked and a consultation will be triggered which Bradford will carry out with residents in the proposed area to be covered by the new town council.

This includes Bingley, Cottingley, Crossflatts, Eldwick, Gilstead and Micklethwaite.

Bradford Council has up to a year to complete the consultation before it decides if a new Bingley town council is to be created, or not.

The petition for a town council was set up in October 2014 at public meetings in Bingley, Cottingley, Crossflatts, Gilstead and Eldwick.

It had to be signed by at least 1843 residents - ten per cent of the 18,427 electorate in the area to be covered by the new council.

Across England and Wales, there are around 9,000 local councils representing millions of people. In the Bradford District, there are 18 town or parish councils.