TRADITION has been broken after Winsford Council Town ditched their cramped meeting room to move into a spacious Cheshire West and Chester Council chamber.

Councillors voted by seven to five at a council meeting last night for the switch which will cost an extra £1,500 a year.

For the past 22 years, councillors have been meeting in a small council chamber on the second floor of Wyvern House, where members share one long curved desk.

The room is so small, councillors have to stand up to let each other walk past.

From September, the 15 elected members will hold their monthly council meetings in the vast purpose built CWAC chamber on the ground floor. Curved rows of seats, each equipped with a microphone, are set out in a modern atrium.

Cllr Nathan Pardoe proposed the move, seconded by Cllr Julie Savage, to provide better accommodation for councillors and members of the public.

Winsford Guardian:

Cllr Nathan Pardoe recommended moving Winsford Town Council meetings to the Cheshire West and Chester Council chamber in Wyvern House

He told members: "This room is over capacity. We've even got one member of the public standing up tonight.

"I propose we use the Wyvern House chamber. We can have six free uses for 11 council meetings. We normally meet for around three hours. We pay for five which will cost £1,500. I don't think that's excessive."

Cllr Joanne Moorcroft said the current chamber upstairs did not have sufficient space to accommodate visiting speakers, members of the public and councillors.

She told members: "We are one councillor down tonight and yet we still have a councillor who does not have a seat at the desk.

"Whilst I understand there is a tradition, sometimes you have to change tradition as things develop and change."

Cllr Mike Kennedy, chairman of the finance committee, proposed an opposing motion called for members to remain in their own chamber.

Winsford Guardian:

Cllr Mike Kennedy proposed that Winsford Town Council should remain in its current chamber

He said: "There is a cost to the CWAC chamber and it depends how long our meetings go on for. I propose we stay in the council chamber for the time being."

He described the extra members of the public attending last night's meeting as 'extraordinary'.

"We normally only get one or two," he said.

Cllr David Edwards supported remaining in their current accommodation. He said: "£1,500 is a lot of money. It would be better spent on Winsford and people in the town. This money could be spent on local activities.

READ > Disappointment for railway fans as Flying Scotsman won't be coming to Winsford

"This chamber has fitted the needs of the town council for 22 years. I'm not in favour of change."

Members rejected a motion to remain in their current chamber by seven votes to five and opted instead, by seven votes to five, to move downstairs to the CWAC chamber. There was one abstention and mayor Cllr Ailsa Gaskill-Jones remains neutral unless a casting vote is required.