History of Letchworth Parish Council

Many people in Letchworth do not realise we have a Town Council, or how it came about.

Here is a quick summary of what happened...

  • In 2003 Raymond Smale started a petition around town for people to sign to get rid of the Heritage Foundation. He then changed the petition to one for starting a Town Council. Having obtained the requisite number of signatures he forced NHDC to carry out a town opinion poll.

  • In December 2003 NHDC asked about two thirds of Letchworth residents (by postal ballot) if they liked the idea of a new Town Council which would cost us virtually nothing. 21% agreed.

  • The Secretary of State was informed that Letchworth residents wanted a Parish Council, and the new Parish of Letchworth was duly created.

  • NHDC were required to organise the election of Councillors for the new Parish Council.

  • In 2005, 24 new councillors were duly elected by only 10% of the town, creating Letchworth Parish Council.

  • The councillors decided to rename to Letchworth Garden City Council, and set the Council Tax precept to £185,000 (about £14 for a Band D resident).

  • Roundabout in bloom near Letchworth station Nothing much happened for 3 years. The councillors could find no role to fill in Letchworth. 6 councillors resigned through the futility of the whole thing. 6 new councillors were appointed by the Town Council without elections, bringing the the council's representation down to only 7.5% of the electorate of Letchworth.

  • In 2008 the councillors decide to raise the Council Tax precept to more than 3 times its previous amount, up to £600,000 . The law allows this, as unlike County and District councils, there is no capping on Parish council tax increases!

  • Residents became concerned about the expense, motives and uselessness of the Town Council and formed the HELP campaign.

  • On April 21st 2008 there was an official Parish Poll to ask residents if they want the Town Council to be dissolved. 76.3% of the voters said YES to dissolve the town council.

  • In September 2008 a HELP supporter was elected (unopposed) to a council seat which had become vacant.

  • In January 2009 four more HELP supporters were elected by the towns people to fill four council seats which had become vacant after four more resignations.

  • In June 2009 HELP won a landslide victory in the Full Council Elections, and set about implementing the mandate “To close down all Council activities as soon as legally and morally possible, so that its dissolution can then be sought”.

  • In December 2011 the HELP controlled council announced it had resolved all the issues it had inherited and was in a position to proceed with requesting NHDC to carry out a Community Governance Review with recommendation for the dissolution of Letchworth Town Council.