Last night l was texted by a friend the great result of the Queen’s Park Community Council Referendum, which with almost 70 per cent of the vote supported a new Parish(Community) Council in the Queen’s Park Ward in the City of Westminster. The official declaration of the result will tell you that 1100 voters were in favour of the proposal and 508 against it on a 20 per cent turnout.
Such referendums are permitted under the new Localism Bill 2012 and it can be said now that Queen’s Park residents are leading the way for the return of Parish Councils and the urban village in the local government map of the United Kingdom. Commentators like Harry Eyres have suggested before the result that such democracy at the local level has its pains, but it too delivers rewards. And it should not be forgotten that Parishes had delivered the local services many of us are accustom too for many hundreds of years before the advent of the present local councils in the 1960s. So in many ways this is back to the future.
It still needs a full council meeting on the 25th of June to ratify it but the Tories would be foolish to turn down the formation of the Parish Council now the public will has been expressed in Queens Park ward. The first elections for the new Community Council since the 1960’s will then be undertaken in May 2014 and the budget of the Parish will be funded by a small precept, costing as little as a bottle of coca-cola a week. l would now expect others to be following them soon including other Wards in the City of Westminster covering areas like Mayfair and Marylebone. So its good to see a ward in the North of the City leading these other much wealthy wards in the South.
It should not be forgotten that the local councillors in Queens Park – Cllr Barrie Taylor & Cllr Patricia McAllister- and their local Karen Buck MP have supported this move without feeling at all threaten by the formation of a community council. Indeed Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the Labour Group and also a councillor in the Ward had this to say on their behalf;
” This is a great result for the Queen’s Park community and well-deserved success for all the hard work put in by the campaign team over the past two years. We look forward to working closing with the new Community Council so that together we can make Queen’s Park an even better place to live.”
” We have worked closely with the Community Council campaign right from the start. We are confident that working with the new Community Council will enable us to get a good deal for local residents and better represents the interests of the Queen’s Park area and its residents”
Can l also add my congratulations to this historic referendum result which heralds the return of the Parish Council in London.