Call for independence for Harpenden

PUBLISHED: 16:33 14 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:12 06 May 2010

Roberts Hill

Roberts Hill

A DEMAND for independence for Harpenden has been made so that the town council could break free from St Albans District Council. Resident of East Common Harpenden, Robert Hill, formally requested that the town council declare unilateral independence at th

A DEMAND for independence for Harpenden has been made so that the town council could break free from St Albans District Council.

Resident of East Common Harpenden, Robert Hill, formally requested that the town council declare unilateral independence at the annual town meeting last week. He did so, he said, because he felt the town council could operate better without the district council telling it what to do.

He cited the recent example when the district council refused permission for a Green Flag on Harpenden Common to mark it as an official area of outstanding natural beauty.

Mr Hill said: "It would be a good idea for two reasons. The council tax we pay would be less without the cost of the district council's services and our councillors would have more control over Harpenden."

He also claimed that the services the district council gave them such as leisure and recycling could be contracted out by a part-time officer. And the town council's staff of nine could be extended to cope with the extra work.

If the town council was working on an annual budget of around one million pounds, it could and should take on more power, he added.

But town clerk John Bagshaw did not share Mr Hill's enthusiasm. He confirmed the request but he said as nice as it sounded, the practicalities were "zero".

He pointed out that for Harpenden to separate from the district council would mean that it would have to discharge all the services that the district provided such as housing, rubbish collection, council tax collection, planning, parking, environmental health and leisure, which would be quite a challenge given that they had nine officers working at the town council.

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