Shipley Conservatives have called for the creation of a town council to bring power back to the people.

The call comes as campaigns across the district gather momentum to set up town and parish councils in Bingley, Horsforth, Pudsey, and Haworth, Cross Roads, and Stanbury.

But the idea has been dismissed by Labour councillors who say a town council would just mean another layer of bureaucracy.

Shipley West Conservative councillor John Carroll said: "This would be a way of bringing local government back to the people. It's a question of bringing power down to a level where people are comfortable with it rather than having another vast layer of bureaucracy. The general movement at the moment is towards regionalising government by having council members directly elected by the public.

"Haworth and Cross Roads are getting their own parish councils so why shouldn't Shipley? It is a major conurbation but is being left out to some extent because it doesn't have its own elected body to lobby on its behalf.

"There was a time in Shipley when you could walk down the street and know your local councillor but it's far too big for that now. The Area Panel is fine in that it meets three times a year. But I think a town council would be far more cost-effective with volunteers running it."

But Shipley West Councillor and Area Panel chairman Hazel Gundry (Lab), said: "I don't think Shipley needs its own town council. It's part of Bradford authority and the area panel works very well as it is. It would just be an extra level of bureaucracy as the Tories like to call it. The area panel works very hard all year round on behalf of Shipley and Shipley residents."

Coun Carroll said that his party had circulated 1,500 questionnaires before Easter to households asking for the public's view on a town council.

He said that all of the 150 replies received so far had responded favourably to the move.

President of Bradford Chamber of Trade and Shipley trader Eric Hudson said: "It would be helpful on occasion to have a local authority which was closely associated with the community as a town council would be and better for traders if they had easier access to the people making decisions."

lShipley Urban District Council ceased to exist in April 1974 when local government in Britain was reformed. Shipley became part of the Bradford Metropolitan District.

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