MIDDLEWICH Town Council has refuted claims that Labour councillors have been ‘gagged’, after a number of proposed motions were rejected from the council meeting agenda last week.

Five Labour motions, as well as one from independent Cllr David Latham, were put forward for last Monday’s meeting but deemed not to be the responsibility of the town council.

Labour councillors say the motions were rejected after Middlewich First councillors “interfered”, although town mayor Cllr Pam Farrell says she and clerk Jonathan Williams made the call.

The council also circulated a three-page document to councillors and the public explaining the difference between the town and borough council.

Of the six motions, five concern subjects that Cheshire East Council (CEC) are responsible for, while one concerned the proposed Centurion Way development which awaits a planning application.

Four motions came from Cllr Jonathan Parry, who regularly attends CEC meetings. They included asking the town council to call on CEC to reinstate a minibus for Sycamore Drive residents who struggle to make it to the bus stop.

They also included asking the council to oppose a change in bypass route, call on CEC to clean up Sycamore Drive park, and call on CEC to take more care in maintanance of grass areas.

Cllr Farrell explained: “All councillors are expected to do their own case work where they follow up the questions from the public where they get in touch with the right officers of CEC or other bodies.

“However some councillors have not been doing this and passing over to town council officers, when they should have been dealing with this themselves.

“Due to this I, as town mayor and chair of the town council, have arranged to meet with our town clerk a week before the town council meeting to check questions and motions put by councillors.

“If they relate to matters for which the town council is responsible they go on the agenda. If they are borough-related we suggest the councillor speak to one of our three CEC ward councillors who should be able to throw light on their questions, without taking up staff time.

“We cannot allow for our town council meeting to be taken over by matters over which we have no powers.”

Cllr Jonathan Parry, who had four motions rejected, said: “Each motion was an issue that several residents had brought to me, and I am doing my duty as a councillor by raising these at full council to gather unified support.

“Most disappointing of all is that no one told me about the removal of the motions, which I only discovered when I queried the published agenda. And I have yet to receive an explanation which I consider to be acceptable.

“I will continue to speak and listen to residents and I refuse to be gagged from raising their issues.”