No vote for parish councils

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A PLAN to create parish councils in Durham City has been decisively rejected by county councillors.

In common with many urban areas, there are no parish councils in the centre of Durham City or in the area covered by the Newton Hall estate.

The idea of setting them up in those areas arose when County Durham moved to one tier of local government and Durham City Council was abolished.

All of the city council’s functions were taken over by the new single tier authority, but some people felt the central area of Durham City was left lacking a sufficiently low level of local government.

Consultations with residents came out marginally in favour of forming parish councils, but very few people bothered to make their views known,

At a meeting of Durham County Council in County Hall yesterday, 90 councillors voted in favour of leaving the central area of Durham City and Newton Hall unparished, and five councillors voted in favour of creating parish councils.

There were six abstentions.

The vote means the idea of creating parish councils in Durham City has been taken off the political agenda for the foreseeable future.

Council leader Simon Henig said creating a town council would have been against the wishes of the public, who would have had to pay for it.

Afterwards, former Mayor of Durham Mary Hawgood, who headed the fight for a new council, said: “It is terribly sad, but I knew this was going to happen.”