MEMBERS of Middlewich Town Council wasted no time bringing about change in the first meeting since this month’s election.

All 11 of Labour’s candidates were voted in following the May 2 election, along with independent councillor Dave Latham, in a vote which saw Middlewich First wiped off the town council.

And the new administration rung the changes on Monday night in a bid to be seen as more open and transparent than the previous one.

Councillors unanimously gave their support to a new Middlewich Charter – which will be signed by all councillors and town council staff, framed and displayed in the town council office.

Labour Cllr Gareth Williams, who proposed the idea of the charter, said: “We see this as a new beginning for the council in many ways and we really want to restore some trust between residents and the council.

“Having something like this, signed by all councillors and council staff, would actually go a long way to at least putting that to the forefront of people’s minds.”

The charter says that Middlewich Town Council ‘believes in openness, transparency and accountability in local government and is committed to actions and policies which:

  • Encourage public participation in the running of the town and all town matters
  • Support resident-led initiatives to improve the town
  • Reflect accurately the concerns of residents
  • Involve residents in the decision-making process
  • Communicate all outcomes and decisions to residents
  • Promote the accountability of the town council and its actions to residents’.

Cllr Mike Hunter, Labour, added: “It’s a complete change of council and I think we need to reaffirm values.

Winsford Guardian:

“It’s not just for us – anybody can come and sign it. It’s about reaffirming our values for our town. What we want is what you want.

“We can only do what we can do with the help of residents. Being fair, open and transparent is a big thing.

“The council can only work if it has got the backing of the residents, so I think we should support this and I think we should embrace it as well.”

Cllr Latham, the town council’s only non-Labour member, supported the motion – but warned against the council making empty promises.

He said: “I do endorse this motion from Cllr Williams but I would say – let’s get on with the work first.

Winsford Guardian:

“People like to see actions rather than words. I’m all for putting words on the wall but let’s just get on with the work and get it done.”

In the spirit of openness and transparency, town councillors agreed to move full council meeting times from 6.30pm to 7.15pm to give more residents the chance to attend meetings, and changed the rules on the open forum to give councillors the chance to debate each issue raised by the public.

They also approved plans to conduct an independent accountant to conduct a full financial review of the council.

Cllr Helen Watkinson, Labour, said: “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.

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“But we’ve got to know that we are starting on a good clean sheet – so we know everything that has happened in the past, everything that has been spent and everything that has been used throughout the town council.

“If you don’t start with a clean sheet you can’t present your aim.”