MEXBOROUGH’S quest for its own Town Council – to speak up for the town’s interests – has taken a giant step forward.
With the town facing Doncaster-based assaults on facilities as diverse as its hospital and market, more than 500 people have now flocked to sign a petition supporting the move.
And the Times – which first aired the idea last year – is now launching an “Our Town – Our Voice” campaign, to make it happen.
We believe it is long overdue that South Yorkshire’s fifth-biggest town – robbed of proper representation under the controversial Local Government shake-up of 1974 – got its voice back.
Labour councillor Sue Phillips is spearheading the public consultation, to see whether the town is up for its own assembly – which would give it far more clout when dealing with organisations such as Doncaster Council and NHS Doncaster.
Coun Phillips said this week: “We have got a lot of signatures on the petition.
“But when you consider Mexborough is a town of some 14,000 or so people, there is room for more support.
“We have been on with this for a long time now. I don’t want it to lose momentum.
“Our own town council would bring many benefits.
“It would mean ratepayers pay a little extra, but we would be able to take more decisions for our own town.”
Coun Phillips said she would be consulting with Mexborough’s other two councillors David Holland and Jill Arkley-Jevons to determine how to push the campaign forward.
Coun Holland told the Times that it is up to the people of Mexborough to show that they want their own town council.
He said: “We must put it to the people of Mexborough first, that is only the right thing to do.
“Once we have gathered enough opinion, then we will look at the situation again.
“It rests with the people. If they respond that they want their own town council, then I will be fully in support of it.
“But there needs to be the backing for it first.”
Coun Phillips has vowed to take to the streets to gather public opinion before holding talks with Doncaster Council chief executive, Rob Vincent.
She said: “I will be conducting a survey in the town, starting on the High Street on Saturday, June 4.
“I want people to at least take part and express their opinion. I would hope that they would support it.
“Once we have some of the evidence together, then I will be talking to Rob Vincent, to see where we can go from there.”
While small villages such as Brampton do have parish councils, Mexborough has NONE – and has to rely on just three councillors to speak up for the town’s interests in Doncaster.
Doncaster’s elected mayor, Peter Davies, has previously admitted to the Times that he DIDN’T know Mexborough did not have its own council!
But he is not ruling the idea out – saying this week that the decision power rested with local people.
He said: “It’s entirely for the people of Mexborough to decide wether they want a town council or not.
“There have been town councils in other parts of the borough and they have had a mixed success.
“I would like to see them have more power, in areas such as planning, but that is an issue for the Government.
“If proposals are put to us, then we will certainly take a look at them.”
* You can sign the petition in our office, at 27-29, Mexborough High Street. Other copies will be circulated throughout the town and further updates on the campaign will appear in future editions of the Times.