Councillors are taking their cue from townspeople and cooling on the idea of a town council for Brighouse.

A majority of respondents to a survey – online and distributed copies – set up by Conservative Calderdale councillors who represent Brighouse, Rastrick and Hipperholme and Lightcliffe and Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker, whose local headquarters are in Brighouse, said they would not be in favour of having a town council of their own.

Almost 600 people responded to the survey, in which the “no” responses only just outnumbered those saying “yes”.

But with around a third of those responding saying they were not sure, councillors and MP did not think they could support the establishment of a council.

It meant only 154, 27 per cent, were positive about the move with the remaining 73 per cent (184 in the “no” camp and 237 undecided) negative or unsure.

Brighouse ward councillor Scott Benton said concerns about an increase in Council Tax to cover the cost and doubt about the amount of influence over Calderdale Council the town council would have were among reasons given as to why residents were not keener.

Coun Benton said: “There are arguments both for and against having a Town Council for Brighouse and we said that we would listen to the views of local people on this issue before taking a firm view.

“Many residents have stated that they are concerned about the increase in their Council Tax that a Town Council would create.

“Residents also stated that a Town Council would not make much of a difference on the big issues affecting Brighouse, such as the plans for 4,000 new houses and the imposition of on-street parking charges, because Calderdale Council would still have the final say on big issues such as this.

“Although people like the idea of having more local democracy I think that they were put off the idea when they learnt that the powers which the Town Council could have were very limited.”

Hipperholme and Lightcliffe Councillor David Kirton said Calderdale ward councillors would keep monitoring what people thought about the idea while putting it on the back burner for the time being.

“In light of the views expressed by residents in our survey, we don’t feel that we can support a Town Council going forward as it is clear that the idea doesn’t have the support of most local people.

“We will continue to listen to the views of residents on this issue but we feel that the views of the majority of residents should be adhered to,” he said.

Brighouse used to have a borough council – these had extensive powers – until the Local Government re-organisation of 1974.

Other parts of Calderdale, including Todmorden, Hebden Royd and Ripponden, decided to elect town or parish councils which still play a role in the lives of people in those areas today, whereas Brighouse and Sowerby Bridge, which like Hebden Royd was an urban district council, chose not to create lesser, in terms of powers, but successor councils.

There are also parish councils at Blackshaw, Erringden, Stainland and District, Heptonstall and Wadsworth (based around the village of Old Town above Hebden Bridge).

Town and parish councils do have a wide range of powers including limited spending to benefit their community.

They can make by-laws covering areas including baths and wash houses (swimming pools), cycle parks, mortuaries and pleasure grounds.

Town and parish councils can buy and sell land and have the power to prosecute and defend any legal proceedings in the interests of the community, and have the power to take part in any public enquiry.

They also have the right to be consulted on matters such as highways alterations and on planning applications where their comments must be taken into account – but Calderdale Councillors make the final decision.

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Generic aerial pic of part of Brighouse

Coun Scott Benton