Moreton Hall councillor calls for estate to get own council

Cllr Trevor Beckwith
Cllr Trevor Beckwith
Have your say

A borough councillor is calling for a Bury St Edmunds estate to break away from the town council and become a separate parish.

Cllr Trevor Beckwith wants St Edmundsbury Borough Council to carry out a Community Governance Review, with the intention of creating a Moreton Hall Parish Council.

He has represented Moreton Hall for 19 years and says his proposal would allow its residents to decide how to use the income generated on the estate, be it on play equipment, bus shelters, footpaths, recycling schemes, open spaces or community help for the vulnerable.

He said it would also ‘provide the basis to apply for various grants’.

“My proposal is to allow Moreton Hall to decide on what’s best for Moreton Hall and have the funding to make a real difference,” said Cllr Beckwith.

“I am not proposing yet another layer of government – this is about breaking away from the town council with our own Moreton Hall Parish Council,” he added.

Bury residents pay Council Tax to Suffolk County Council, St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Bury St Edmunds Town Council, with the smallest contribution of £13.50 per year for the average Band D property going to the town council.

With Cllr Beckwith’s proposal, the Council Tax Moreton Hall residents currently pay to the town council would instead go to the new parish council.

“With 3,500 dwellings on the estate, and if the average council tax is Band D, the amount raised would be over £45,000 per annum,” said Cllr Beckwith.

“There would be a cost in having to employ a parish clerk but that would be a part-time position and still leave a significant amount to be spent on the estate.”

For the review to go ahead, at least 10 per cent of the Moreton Hall electorate – around 500 electors - would need to sign a petition.

To launch the campaign, and to give residents the opportunity to ask questions, a public meeting is being held at the Moreton Hall Community Centre, off Symonds Road, at 7pm on June 23.

Cllr Beckwith said: “Moreton Hall is a very popular place to live and prosper and it’s time its residents had more say in their own affairs, a place where they decide what local initiatives should be introduced to support our own unique community.”

He added: “We have as much right as any village to our own identity and greater control over our own environment. Although parish councils are the lowest tier, they are the most local and give a voice to their particular community.”