A new Wickford parish and a Wickford Town Council is to be established after the findings from a Community Governance Review for the area were recently approved by Basildon Borough Council.
The review was considering whether a new parish should be created for the Wickford area and what the electoral arrangements would be for a new parish council. The public consultation included a letter being sent to all households in the area of the proposed parish, and an online survey was further promoted through the council communication channels to gain further feedback and enhance awareness and engagement.
There are currently eight local (parish or town) councils in the borough, which means around 25 per cent of electors live in a parish area. The new town council for Wickford would result in this increasing to around 40% of electors, with the new council being a similar size to the current largest in the borough: Billericay Town Council with 22,500 electors.
Wickford Town Council elections will take place every four years, and the first of these will take place on the same day as borough council elections in May 2022. The decision to create a town council will be coupled with a Shadow Wickford Town Council, who will assist in laying the foundations for the new council. A grant of 10k has been provided by the borough council to support the shadow council up to those first elections.
It has been agreed for there to be 20 councillors, with the name and number of councillors for each town/parish ward being as follows:
- Wickford Castledon – 6 councillors
- Wickford North – 7 councillors
- Wickford Park – 7 councillors
Parish and town councils are the most local tier of government in England. There are around 10,000 local councils in England with over 30% of the country parished. The National Association of Local Council describes their role as falling into three main categories: representing the local community; delivering services to meet local needs; striving to improve quality of life and community well-being.