Devolution plan attacked by councillor

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A Spen councillor has claimed new proposals from Kirklees could pit one community against another.

Kirklees Council met on Wednesday and backed plans to devolve some spending power to four district panels, with one of them being Batley and Spen.

But Cleckheaton councillor Kath Pinnock (Lib Dem) believes the plans are unacceptable, as there would be little common interest between the two areas.

“Batley and Spen are being lumped together,” she said. “The Spen Valley Area Committee worked very well because there is a community feel here, which does not exist for Batley and Spen.

“If, for example, the council one day decided they wanted only one library in each of the four areas, Spen and Batley would effectively be pitted against one another rather than working together.”

Details of the powers have not yet been decided, which Coun Pinnock felt was crucial in deciding the boundaries.

She said: “I think we should have first decided exactly what spending the panels are going to be responsible for before we decided on the boundaries.”

The other four areas are Dewsbury and Mirfield, Huddersfield and Kirklees Rural.