A Letter from Nantwich

March 2008 - 2                                                                           Edited

Talk of the country 

THE people of Nantwich have a town council of some quality - and that's official. The local authority has been awarded Quality Town Council status in a scheme set up by the Government five years ago.

   It is, says the council's quarterly newsletter, Talk of the Town, "a sort of kite mark for town and parish councils". In fact, the production of the newsletter was one of the things that convinced the powers-that-be that Nantwich Town Council was worthy of the award.

   The council headquarters are in the rather grandly named Brookfield Hall (pictured left and below). The single-storey, partially wood-clad building stands near to Brookfield House (a much

grander building) the one-time home of the former Nantwich Urban District Council (see below).

   Quoted in Talk of the Town, the Chairman of the council, Cllr Bill McGinnis said: "To obtain quality status, the council had to show it communicates regularly with residents, has elected locally-involved councillors and is properly run so far as meetings, records and accounts are concerned."

   Only 500 out of the 8,000 local councils in England gained the award. "A real feather in our cap", said Cllr McGinnis.

   In fact, they won the award in November, but the council is making a night of its annual meeting (invitation only) by having a celebration with guests from local organisations.

   The chairman of the council's Quality Status Working Group, Cllr Steve Hope, three times chairman of the authority, quite rightly says (in Talk of the Town again): "Having Quality Status may well be important following local government reorganisation." Referring to the setting up of the East Cheshire authority in the next 18 months, Cllr Hope added: "There is a possibility of some services or facilities being managed by the Town Council and having quality status will show that we could take those on board."

   Nantwich has been swallowed up in one of only two authorities (East and West) which will be running Cheshire in the near future. There is a genuine fear that some of our cherished town projects will be lost when new authority councillors from outside the local area get to vote for or against the town's wishes. However, we seem to have secured the scheme to bring in alterations at the town's open-air swimming pool before losing control.

   It was bad enough back in 1974 when Nantwich Urban District Council (as the town authority was called then) became part of a new authority, Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council, along with the Nantwich Rural District Council. There were far fewer pet schemes competing for available cash in that council than there will be in East Cheshire. That sounds odd because we are a South Cheshire market town.

  

l The civic celebrations evening will also include the presentation of awards to the people who produced the "most attractive Christmas Lights display" last year and the presentation of grant cheques to local groups and societies (said to be a new venture, although the council has been making grants to worthy causes for years).

 

This is Brookfield House - the former home of Nantwich Urban District Council. Now it is a residential home for older people.

I spent many a happy Monday evening in the council chamber - the single storey part (with two windows) at the front of the building - reporting on the councillors' deliberations.  

lGo to Letters index page.

 

 

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