Dewsbury town council campaign to reach next level

Chris Stoner is heading up a bid for Dewsbury to be given its own town council.
Chris Stoner is heading up a bid for Dewsbury to be given its own town council.

A campaign to give Dewsbury its own town council is to be ramped up in the coming weeks as an online petition for its formation approaches 1,000 signatures.

Organisers behind the ‘Vote Dewsbury’ campaign, which hopes to deliver more focussed democracy to the town centre, have said that the hard work starts now in whipping up support and educating residents as to what a more centralised town council would mean for the region.

Campaign leader Chris Stoner said: “It’s definitely gathering momentum.

“There’s a genuine feeling that we need this for Dewsbury. It feels as though the town has been left behind by Kirklees and having spoken to people, including some councillors, there is a worry that sorting out the town might be too big a job for the council to sort out.”

A total of 3,000 signatures would mean the campaign would be taken to the Community Governance Review, a figure Chris is confident of achieing.

“It’s about taking it out to the streets now,” he said, “we need to speak to people and give them leaflets, posters and so on.

“We need to speak to people about what a town council can do. Many people seem to think that a town council would replace Kirklees and that’s just not the case.

“It’s about educating people. What we’re proposing won’t replace anything, it’s an additional level of local community governance where we can make changes from within the community. It’s not another layer of politicians or another council gap.

“We’ve had a fairly quiet August but we’re ready to really pick this campaign up and get it going.”

In preliminary conversations with councillors, Chris says he has been surprised to find the plans have been supported by local councillors.

“We’ve spoken to a lot of people and to be honest I was shocked to find that this pretty much has cross-party support from different people.

“Kirklees has been hugely affected by government cuts, we know that. Allowing us to raise our own money to invest in our own town centre would be a huge step forward for everyone.”