THE people of Shipley will be asked for their thoughts on a new town council for the area.

After years of campaigning by local residents, Bradford Council has begun a consultation that could lead to the new Town Council forming by May.

If it goes ahead, the Council could provide services like public toilets, Christmas lights switch ons and public events.

The month long consultation will run until November 1, and households across Shipley, Saltaire, Nab Wood and Northcliffe are being sent letters asking them to have their say.

In June a group of Shipley residents presented Bradford Council with a petition signed by 960 people, over the 771 they required before their proposals would be considered by Bradford Council.

And last month the Council's Governance and Audit Committee agreed to press ahead with the consultation.

If there is enough support in the town for a Town Council, the first election would take place in May.

Campaign for a Shipley Town Council reaches key milestone

Although Town Councils do not have the power to make decisions on issues like planning applications, school spending, highways works or other services associated with Councils, it can take on local services, organise events and provide a stronger voice for communities.

It would be paid for through a precept on the local Council Tax. For the first year of the Council's existence that precept, usually a minimum amount, will be set by Bradford Council.

But once the town council is up and running, its elected councillors can raise that precept depending on what projects they need funding.

Neighbouring Baildon Town Council recently re-opened the local public toilets, and Bingley Town Council re-instated the town market.

An open letter by the Town Council campaign to political groups asking them not to field candidates. It argues that town councils work best when their members are independent. The letter adds: "The Campaign has no political affiliation. Active members of political parties are very welcome to stand for election as individuals, but we request that all parties hold back from nominating official party candidates. If all parties feel pressure to be represented, the result can be less committed, even lower quality candidates."

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