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Villages in Surrey like the rest of England have had their own local parish government for centuries. Most towns and villages in Surrey still do so today. Weybridge is an exception – we had our town government removed in 1933 by act of parliament.
Eventually all of the parish councils in Elmbridge were removed. Claygate has begun the trend to reinstate town and village councils in Elmbridge. Read a view of the success of the new parish council in Claygate. If Weybridge had its own town council it would be focused on drawing the community together to enhance the quality of public life in the town.
Some might say it’s just another layer of bureaucracy. We’d say it’s not just another layer. We would argue that it is the most important layer of local democracy if we care about the quality of community life locally. With a town council we can also have a bigger influence on decisions made by Elmbridge and Surrey. So how does it work? Typically, the town council, made up of ten elected local residents, levies a tax – called a precept. The annual rate is set by the council itself. For the average household this would be somewhere between £10 and £20 a year. Funds raised through the precept must be spent on local needs and projects. Best practice is that town councils are not party-political. Some of the things which could improve for residents if we had a town council are:
- Bus shelters
- Community centres
- Halls, public Building
- Entertainment and the arts
- Highways – lighting, parking places
- Maintenance of litter-bins
- Public loos
- Recreation grounds
- Public walkways
- Open spaces, playing fields
- More public seats for elderly
- Traffic calming
- War memorial and wreaths
Town councils also have influence on planning: Elmbridge planning must take account of comments submitted by the town council. They can also acquire and sell land.
Enter our survey to give us your views on Weybridge regaining its town council.