Giving Rochester a Voice: Campaigners formally launch petition to create a new town council for Rochester
The campaign to create a new town council for Rochester took a significant step forward today with the formal launch of a public petition.
This petition, which is being organised by the City of Rochester Society, is calling for Medway Council to establish a new town council for Rochester. The City of Rochester Society believes that having a town council will strengthen democratic representation in Rochester and give its people the resources and tools they need to make positive changes to their town.
From Friday 19th March, every household in Rochester will receive an information pack and a petition form inviting them to support this campaign. Residents will be able to sign the petition form and return it by freepost or sign online at the campaign website www.rochestertowncouncil.org.uk.
Today is the day that the people of Rochester have their say on the future of their town. Do we want to be a legally recognised town? Do we want more say in how our town is run? Do we want to spend our money on projects that we feel best benefit our community? If you want to give Rochester a stronger democratic voice and help put our town back on the map, then please take a moment to sign the petition when it comes through your letterbox this week.John Collins, the Campaign Manager
In February we floated the idea of establishing a town council for Rochester, and the response was very positive. Today we are bringing that idea a step closer to fruition. It is now time for the electors of Rochester to have their say; if 2000 of those currently on the electoral role sign up, a formal governance review will be triggered. Throughout England the establishment of town councils in communities like Rochester is being actively encouraged by the Government as a means of putting local people back in control of local affairs.Alan Moss, the Chair of the City of Rochester Society
Local councils are popular with people and can really make a difference. Neighbourhood level local governance can make it easier to take action. In many areas, there are town and parish councils, the most local level of government. These councils, using their powers to raise funding, have the ability to deliver services to the community as well as being able to influence other decision-making bodies. A town council for Rochester means democratic representation for the neighbourhood – all for as little as 5p per household per day.John Rivers, the President of the Kent Association of Local Councils
Notes for Editors
Rochester Town Council would be an urban parish council, similar to other parish councils in Medway (such as Cuxton and Frindsbury Extra). Rochester would continue to be a part of the Medway Unitary Authority.
Rochester Town Council would be formed of around 15 elected Town Councillors, who would draw no salary and would incur minimal expenses.
The Town Council would elect a chair, who would be styled as the Mayor of Rochester (a ceremonial role).
The campaign team estimates that the average parish precept for each household in Rochester (which would be used to finance Rochester Town Council) would be £1.50 per household per month.
The campaign team estimates that approximately 2,000 valid signatures are needed to trigger a Community Governance Review, which is the next stage of the process of establishing a new town council. When enough signatures have been collected and validated, the campaign team will formally submit the petition to Medway Council.
This campaign is sponsored by the City of Rochester Society and is supported by the Kent Association of Local Councils, the National Association of Local Councils, and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Further information, including a map of the area that the proposed Town Council would cover, is provided on our website at www.rochestertowncouncil.org.uk.
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