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Referendum over power

Fylde Town Hall

Fylde Town Hall

Voters in Fylde are set to decide whether a council’s structure should be changed to give more councillors more power.

Fylde Council will hold a referendum in May to decide whether to go back to the old committee structure of government, instead of the present leader and cabinet system - which critics say gives disproportionate power to relatively few councillors.

It comes after more than 4,600 people in the borough signed a petition challenging the current model, which allows decisions to be taken by a small cabinet of councillors.

The petition was started by the Fylde Civic Awareness Group (FCAG).

Fred Moor, FCAG clerk, said: “We’re very pleased obviously. We campaigned for this based on a public meeting in 2008 and the Localism Act gives us the opportunity to petition for the change.

“We want to restore better democracy to Fylde and bring about more transparency, with more councillors working collectively together rather than a subset of them.”

It is understood that up to 40 councils across the country are considering changing back to committees.

A dozen have already decided to do so including Hartlepool, Reading, Brighton and Hove, as well as Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire County Councils and Kingston-upon-Thames, Sutton, and Barnet in London.

The referendum will be held on May 22 2014, the same days at the European elections.

A spokesman for Fylde Council said: “We can confirm we have received a petition which contained 4,636 signatures. They have had to be checked and the campaigners had to get signatures from five per cent of the electoral register.”

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