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I have made some changes to my campaign and I ask you to please sign the petition below to ensure a citizens assembly is set up and to hold a referendum to make the final decision on the Mega-Council proposal. The proposal would see Conservative-controlled Warwick and Stratford district councils merge and local power diluted. It would also make a future Labour victory in the area highly improbable.
If the proposal from the two districts is approved, the number of councillors serving residents in south Warwickshire would be reduced from 80 to 60 – which could mean it is more likely a councillor from Alcester making decisions on behalf of residents from Woodloes or Whitnash. Residents need to feel more connected and not detached from political decision-making. We need councils that are more in touch with residents, not larger more distant ones. And we must retain the number of councillors who represent us.
Conservative-controlled Warwickshire district and borough councils spent an estimated £125,000 of taxpayers’ cash on a review including two reports by consultancy firm Deloitte that recommended the merger.
The plans were approved in principal in February by councillors from both authorities, with an agreement to work towards its formation by 2024.
I am now demanding that we put it to the people and have a referendum to have the final say on whether to pursue the plans – in honour of truly democratic values.
The first stage might see the councils set up and advertise a citizens assembly in which arguments are outlined for and against the merger and selected residents at the meeting decide on the options that should feature on the ballot paper. I will release firm details on this soon.
The next stage would involve a referendum to deliver the final verdict (indeed, as Warwick District Council itself planned to do for its climate change levy – which it withdrew due to the pandemic). Perhaps we could do both at the same time?
The previous petition I started was not specific enough, nor did it do justice to the sheer scale of the issue at hand. I appreciate all your feedback on it and I feel I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I didn’t respond to your concerns. But please can the same 500 people who signed the last petition do so again! It is just so important.
We cannot rely simply on councillors to make such a momentous decision, nor the consultancy firm council leaders paid more than £125,000 to deliver the verdict they were seeking.
Warwick District Council was prepared to stage a referendum to decide whether to adopt a climate change levy in Spring 2020 – and now it must allow the same for the Mega-Council proposal.
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