Public to vote on landmark Queen's Park parish council
PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 April 2012
Queen's Park residents will be able to vote on whether they want their area to host London's first parish council for 50 years.
Westminster Council confirmed on Monday that a referendum will be held next month for Queen’s Park’s 8,000 residents to decide whether they want to be governed by a Queen’s Park Community Council.
Run by up to 16 publically elected volunteer councillors, the council would be responsible for a number of lower-level issues. Campaigners say Queen’s Park residents would have more of a say over where money is spent.
Proposed schemes include installing CCTV at crime hot spots, improving management of parks and play areas, and providing English language classes.
Funding for the parish council would come from a £40 to £45 extra charge per year added to all residents’ council tax.
A public consultation about the proposed parish council, that has already been carried out, received 87 per cent support. Leading campaigner Emma Sweeney says she is hopeful the referendum’s results will echo the positive response.
“Once people hear our aims and what we are trying to do, regardless of the money involved, I think they are going to vote yes,” she said.
“People will get a direct say in where the money is spent. We have been paying for the Olympics through council tax and we get no say in where that money goes.
“You always hear about the shootings and stabbings but to have a good news story and do something positive will really lift people.”
Parish councils in Greater London were abolished in 1963 but a new Act in 2007 lifted the ban and opened the door to new parishes.
Confirming the referendum, Westminster deputy leader Cllr Robert Davis said he supports the Queen’s Park campaign but the referendum is necessary to ensure the proposals have “the clear support of residents”.
It will take place throughout May before Westminster makes its final decision on June 25.