Plans for Atherton Parish Council rejected

Atherton. Picture from Google Maps.

Atherton. Picture from Google Maps.

First published in News
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PLANS to create a parish or town council in Atherton have been rejected.

Wigan Council rejected the proposal after residents indicated they do not want a new parish or town council for Atherton.

Cllr Terry Halliwell, cabinet member for customer transformation, said: “Less than 0.6 per cent of electorate responded to the consultation and out of 246,440 borough residents, just 1,082 responded in favour of a parish or town council in Atherton in addition to the borough council.

“In Atherton, 655 responses were received, out of 6,579 households. Only 8.79 per cent of the households in Atherton responded to say they were unhappy with the current governance arrangements.

“Would it be fair then, to impose this bill along with another layer of local government to those 92.1 per cent of people in Atherton who didn’t ask for it?

“As councillors it is our job to look after the needs of our constituents and to make fair decisions and that is exactly what we have done here.”

Cllr Susan Loudon explained why she voted against taking further action.

She said: “I believe we cannot force everyone in Atherton to pay extra taxes on the whim of a handful of people.

“A new town council will not bring back the old Atherton Council and anyone who voted for that has been strongly misled.

“That is why I am against a town council — not because I do not admire what Atherton Urban District did but because we can never return to that.”

A campaign had been launched calling for a parish council for Atherton.

Comments (2)

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9:14am Sat 25 Jan 14

Hulton Park says...

It would have been helpful if the Council's dedicated webpage had been more clearly accessible and had more reliably functioned.

The 1974 districts were set up at a time when councils still provided all services directly themselves - all that was needed was bigger areas, to reflect modern realities of movement and local ties. Now, especially as more powers are passed upwards to Greater Manchester level (and I expect education, social services and highways will go that way in the next ten years or so), and the districts are left doing little more than emptying the bins, they will be increasingly questioned.

Bolton is a genuine area, but "Metropolitan Wigan" certainly isn't, as regards the eastern end of that artificial borough. There are then the two "ragbag" authorities in Tameside and Trafford, created solely for the purpose of administering services over a wider area, but lacking any local allegiance or other justification, once stripped of so many of their functions.

If services are increasingly either bought in or passed up to GM or even regional level, the question will surely come to be asked: why do we need ten monolithic local authorities in an area with only seven real centres?

An Atherton Council, even with limited powers, would be a starting point in any reconsideration of this. Atherton is, of course, nearer to the centre of Bolton than it is to Wigan.
It would have been helpful if the Council's dedicated webpage had been more clearly accessible and had more reliably functioned. The 1974 districts were set up at a time when councils still provided all services directly themselves - all that was needed was bigger areas, to reflect modern realities of movement and local ties. Now, especially as more powers are passed upwards to Greater Manchester level (and I expect education, social services and highways will go that way in the next ten years or so), and the districts are left doing little more than emptying the bins, they will be increasingly questioned. Bolton is a genuine area, but "Metropolitan Wigan" certainly isn't, as regards the eastern end of that artificial borough. There are then the two "ragbag" authorities in Tameside and Trafford, created solely for the purpose of administering services over a wider area, but lacking any local allegiance or other justification, once stripped of so many of their functions. If services are increasingly either bought in or passed up to GM or even regional level, the question will surely come to be asked: why do we need ten monolithic local authorities in an area with only seven real centres? An Atherton Council, even with limited powers, would be a starting point in any reconsideration of this. Atherton is, of course, nearer to the centre of Bolton than it is to Wigan. Hulton Park
  • Score: -1

3:15pm Sat 25 Jan 14

Brumas says...

Being an exponent of getting rid of Town Councils and having done some research into what the residents of Atherton were told about what having a Town Council entailed, I can understand why the plan has been rejected. In the consultation it was clearly pointed out that having a Town Council would have a cost, above and beyond the Council Tax. This extra payment, the precept is a payment to far in these austere times and is the reason no one wants a Town Council for Atherton. Who in their right mind wants to pay for a council that would have little influence in the Council Chambers of Wigan?
Being an exponent of getting rid of Town Councils and having done some research into what the residents of Atherton were told about what having a Town Council entailed, I can understand why the plan has been rejected. In the consultation it was clearly pointed out that having a Town Council would have a cost, above and beyond the Council Tax. This extra payment, the precept is a payment to far in these austere times and is the reason no one wants a Town Council for Atherton. Who in their right mind wants to pay for a council that would have little influence in the Council Chambers of Wigan? Brumas
  • Score: 1

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