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MPC(22)27 Community Governance Review Report

Agendas & PapersFull Council Uploaded on March 17, 2022

MPC(22)27

Local Governance Review

It was agreed at the Special Full Council meeting on 2nd March 2022 that there would be a general awareness campaign using social media/posters/e-news/website alerting residents to the Governance Review. The messaging was agreed as follows:

“East Suffolk Council (ESC) is carrying out a Community Governance Review (CGR). District-CGR-Terms-of-Reference.pdf (eastsuffolk.gov.uk)

A CGR involves asking the public and other interested parties about the most suitable ways of representing local communities.  The outcome of such a review could be changes in parish boundaries or the abolition or renaming of Parishes and/or changes in electoral arrangements eg the numbers of Councillors for each parish. These reviews have to be done periodically by law and such a review may well decide against significant changes.

Melton Parish Council and Woodbridge Town Council feel that the boundaries should remain unchanged and that the number of Councillors should stay as is (15 for Melton). Woodbridge Town Council has indicated they would prefer the Melton Hill site (former Council offices) to sit wholly within either Woodbridge or Melton and we would support that.

Melton Parish Councillors feel they do a good job in representing the views and needs of Melton to the District and County Councils. We also act wisely and prudently to ensure that the local Community Infrastructure Levy (taxes on housing development in Melton) are spent in Melton for the benefit of Melton people and that our Council Tax Precept is kept at a level commensurate with the services the Parish Council provides.

If you wish to submit a response to the CGR please do so by emailing CGR@eastsuffolk.gov.uk before the 1st April 2022. You can let us know your thoughts by contacting the office: clerk@melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk 01394 382224”

We received three responses from residents:

“Melton Parish I feel do a good job in representing the views and needs of Melton to the District and County Councils.

They act wisely and prudently to ensure that the local Community Infrastructure Levy (taxes on housing development in Melton) are spent in Melton for the benefit of Melton people and that our Council Tax Precept is kept at a level commensurate with the services the Parish Council provides.

I therefore would suggest that the current boundaries are correct and that the work carried out by Melton Parish Council is representative of the current Melton public, and is carried out in a timely manner and I would not want the boundaries changed.

Their level of communication is very good, involving and informative. I do not want that to change.”

“Given the controversy over building plans for the Melton Hill site in recent years I fear for the lack of input that MPC would have in the future if it were solely in WTC hands. Would it be possible to have a joint group from members of MPC and WTC to consider future applications for the site whose weight would carry more than anything East Suffolk Council (ESC) might think appropriate?

As to the question of boundaries, Melton has already been encroached upon by Woodbridge regarding Ward boundaries, somewhat supported by WTC councillors. I would not wish that to act as a precedent especially given the differences in council tax rates as between the two authorities. As such it was good to read that MPC and WTC are in agreement  that they should remain as is. However from the WTC Minutes above that doesn’t seem to be the case, otherwise why do they ask ESC to “review and consult”?

As to the number of councillors, given the workload involved as outlined on the the MPC website, particularly in ongoing planning matters, then I concur that fifteen is justifiable.”

“I have read the statement and feel the boundaries should stay the same. The old council offices should be within the Woodbridge boundary as there is more of the site on their side .Does Melton really need the hassle of sorting that project out?”

It was agreed that MPC’s formal response would be agreed by Full Council after reviewing residents’ responses. Therefore, it is proposed that the response should be as follows:

“Melton is an historic settlement with remnants of Roman and Medieval pottery and evidence of Prehistoric occupation in the area. The Domesday Book (1086) records the village as “Meltuna”.

Melton Parish Council, in agreement with Woodbridge Town Council, feel that the parish boundaries should remain unchanged and that the number of Melton Councillors should stay as is – 15 Councillors. Woodbridge Town Council has indicated they would prefer the Melton Hill site (former Council offices) to sit wholly within either Woodbridge or Melton and we would support that.

We have received comments from several residents, all in support of keeping the Melton Parish Boundary as it is with no changes to the number of Parish Councillors.

We have a single District Councillor who represents Melton and any significant changes to the boundary would be to the detriment of the Parish and its residents.”

 

Councillors are asked to:

  • Note the contents of this report
  • Decide if they agree with the formal response from MPC to the CGR or wish to make any amends

 

 

Pip Alder

Clerk and Executive Officer to the Council

March 2022