Community Governance Review: High Wycombe, Micklefield, Sands and Totteridge

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High Wycombe: your area, your say

Public consultation: 5 August - 30 September 2019

Wycombe District Council has received four petitions for a community governance review (CGR).

The petitions for the wards of Micklefield and Totteridge were verified in December 2018 which triggered a community governance review of those wards. We also received a petition for the Sands ward and the whole of the unparished wards of Wycombe District. These petitions were also verified and we decided to combine the review of the whole of the unparished area with the review that was triggered in December.

We now have an obligation to complete this review by December 2019 (within 12 months of the original verification date). The terms of reference for the review can be viewed in the supporting documents below.

What is a community governance review?

Wycombe District Council has not made up its mind about how best to represent the interests of the town under the new unitary council to be introduced in 2020 and we genuinely want to know your views before we make any recommendations. A public consultation will run from 5 August to 30 September and we will consider the findings before making recommendations by December 2019.

This page provides you with all of the key details, including what forms of community governance are being proposed and how you can have your say.


Background detail

Until now, the ten wards of High Wycombe have not had a town or parish council(s) because they were represented by the Wycombe District Council and the High Wycombe Town Committee. However, the three Micklefield, Sands and Totteridge wards have petitioned to have their own separate parish councils, and residents of other wards have petitioned for a town council.

Map of High Wycombe wards
A map of all the High Wycombe wards in the community governance review (open the map in your browser)

Those four petitions, and the local government changes coming in 2020, have led us to consider whether the local representation of all ten High Wycombe wards should be enhanced through the creation of a town council or up to three parish councils.

High Wycombe currently has the following two tiers of local government only:

  • Buckinghamshire County Council – providing county-wide strategic services, such as adult and children’s social care, educational services, highways and environmental services.
  • Four District Councils (Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks, and Wycombe) – providing a wide range of local services, such as waste collection, local planning and building regulations, housing advice, licensing, benefits, council tax collection, community safety, car parks, and community centres and parks.

However, other areas of Buckinghamshire have a ‘third tier’ consisting of either town or parish councils (with democratically elected councillors) that are ‘statutory consultees’ – entitled to be consulted by their district or county councils on planning and decisions.

Many town and parish councils are responsible for some local services and many of them charge a council tax precept in addition to those of the County Council, District Councils, police and fire services.

 

Until now, the ten wards of High Wycombe have not had a town or parish council(s) because they are represented by Wycombe District Council and the High Wycombe Town Committee. However, the three Micklefield, Sands and Totteridge wards have petitioned to have their own separate parish councils and residents of other wards have petitioned for a town council.

In High Wycombe, a town council or the three proposed parish councils would be statutory consultees for the new Buckinghamshire Council on planning, but at this stage it is not possible to specify exactly which local services they would manage or what level of council tax precept they would charge.

 

In April 2020 the current two-tier system will be abolished and replaced by a new single-tier unitary council, Buckinghamshire Council, that will be responsible for all local government services across the whole of Buckinghamshire. 

Should the result of the community governance review be the creation of a new town or parish council, the responsibilities of that council and how it operates will be affected by the opening of the new Buckinghamshire Council in 2020.

 

 

Need more information? View the full consultation document.


What are the consultation issues?

Because of the changes to local government in Buckinghamshire, and because it has received petitions to create separate parish councils for each of the Micklefield, Sands and Totteridge wards, we are considering the following issues:

  1. Would the creation of a new democratically elected town council for all ten wards protect High Wycombe’s identity and heritage, promote the interests of the town, and represent local residents democratically?
  2. If a town council for all ten wards is not created, should the Micklefield and/or Sands and/or Totteridge wards each form democratically elected parish councils (that is, up to three separate parish councils)?
  3. Is some other option more appropriate for any or all of the ten High Wycombe wards?

These are important questions for the future of High Wycombe and we would like to know your views before any decisions are taken.


What is being proposed?

Click the options below to find out more about each option for local governance in High Wycombe.

You can have your say on these issues as part of our public consultation, running until 30 September 2019.

If a new town council were created:

  • the Town Committee and the Charter Trustees would dissolve but the Mayoralty would continue
  • the Town Council would be democratically elected and have a role in representing residents on planning, local matters and local service provision.
  • the Town Council would charge a separate council tax precept, with the amount depending upon the level of responsibilities agreed with the new Buckinghamshire Council

 

If a new town council were not created:

  • up to three of the Micklefield, Sands and Totteridge wards could form separate democratically elected parish councils with five to ten members in each.
  • these parishes would charge a council tax precept depending upon their level of responsibilities

 

If a new town council were not created:

  • High Wycombe would remain as an unparished community without parish elections
  • any services currently managed by Wycombe District Council and the High Wycombe Town Committee, and any assets belonging to them, would transfer to the new Buckinghamshire Council
  • the current High Wycombe Town Committee would dissolve, but the Mayoralty would continue and the Charter Trustees would carry on under the new Buckinghamshire Council
  • the new Buckinghamshire Council could also set up a Local Board for the High Wycombe area

 

Need more information? View the full consultation document.


How to have your say

A public consultation will run for eight weeks from Monday 5 August until Monday 30 September 2019. The report from this consultation will inform the final recommendations – so be sure to have your say!

A final decision will be made by December 2019.

Have your say

Read our privacy notice before submitting your comments.

As set out in the Community Governance Review Report submitted to the Regulatory and Appeals Committee on 31 July, the results of the consultation will be collated into a comprehensive report which will be available for consideration in order to inform the final recommendations being drawn up. The final report will be presented to a meeting of the Shadow Executive.

If any form of parish council order is to be created, a reorganisation order will be made. This will set out the interim arrangements which will exist between the date when the council comes into being on 1 April 2020 and the elections to the parish council in May 2020. The new Council will then be elected, it will have powers to decide the functions it wishes to carry out, including whether it accepts any devolved powers from other authorities. It will also have the power to set its own council tax and budget.

 

 


Supporting documents


Additional information