Last night, Sefton Labour Councillors voted down a proposal submitted by the Conservative Party to establish a Southport Town Council.
The proposal submitted by Councillor Terry Jones and seconded by Councillor Harry Bliss, had the full backing of Southport and Sefton Conservatives and recognised the unique characteristics of the town, while maintaining a cooperative arrangement with Sefton MBC.
The local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 enables Sefton Council to undertake community governance reviews and this proposal, if it had been accepted, would have set in motion one such review to explore the creation of a new Town Council for Southport involving a public consultation.
The motion represented a clear indication by the Conservatives that they are committed to highlighting the belief held by residents that Sefton Council only sees Southport as a cashcow.
The motion for a town council was supported by all Conservative and Liberal Democrat Councillors but was blocked by both Sefton and Southport Labour Councillors, suggesting they ‘hadn’t heard any complaints about Sefton or calls for a town council on the doorstep’.
Last year, the Labour-led Sefton Council also abolished the Southport Area Committee, a forum used by Southport residents to voice concerns.
Recent figures acquired from Freedom of Information requests also show that Southport has received more litter and parking fines, pays more council tax, and is charged more for parking when compared with its Bootle counterpart.
Cllr Terry Jones, Leader of Southport Conservatives and proposer of the motion said:
‘It is very disappointing that a motion to create a Southport Town Council and give local residents a greater say and involvement in how their money is spent has been voted down by predominantly Sefton Labour Councillors.
‘I’m also extremely disappointed that the 4 Labour Councillors who represent wards In Southport were involved in the continuation of our town’s enslavement.
‘This won’t dishearten our campaign on behalf of Southport residents. As Conservatives we are committed to triggering a Governance Review and we will now start collecting petition signatures to force it upon Sefton Council, one way or another’.
‘Southport residents will be heard and the attempts by Sefton and Southport Labour to silence our town will not work.’
[SUGGESTED] Harry Bliss, Conservative Councillor for Cambridge Ward added:
‘Labour Councillors had a choice to make last night: support the Conservative proposal to create a town council or vote against it and confirm the view held by residents that Southport is nothing more than a cashcow for Bootle’s projects.
‘Whilst Sefton Labour Councillors voted against the proposals, it is worrying that the four Southport Labour councillors did so too. In doing so, they have demonstrated that their priorities do not lie with Southport, but with Bootle.’
‘Residents living in Southport should have the opportunity to have their say on the current arrangement with Sefton Council and a Governance Review would do just that.
‘Southport will be heard and Sefton Council’s distain for our town will not go unchallenged.’
Damien Moore, Member of Parliament for Southport commented:
‘Residents are tired of paying for Labour’s projects in Bootle. Our town is not a bottomless purse and its voice will be heard and considered when making decisions.
‘It has not gone unnoticed that Sefton Council recently purchased the Bootle Strand Shopping Centre for £32.5 million without consulting residents nor the Labour Police Commissioners announcement of a consultation to increase the precept in every large community but Southport.
‘Southport Conservatives will not allow Sefton Labour’s distain for our town to go unchallenged.’