Queen's Park residents call for parish council return

Residents in Queen's Park are a step closer to setting up London's first parish council for 50 years.

Westminster Council is deciding on whether to hold a referendum after 87% of 408 responses to a public consultation supported the plans.

Queen's Park Forum wants residents to pay £45 per year to fund services which the group fears the council will no longer be able to afford.

The council said it wanted to be clear of local support for the plans.

Fabian Sharp, from the forum, said the council was not failing residents, however services were being cut back across the board.

"It's not that we think they've let the area down, we're just better placed than people operating in councils in city halls."

He said there was a lot of support from the local community who can "make a connection between what they're asked to contribute and the services they see".

"They'd be more in control of it so they can react to the times. People can identify a need to plug certain needs," he said.

"Yes it's a poor community, but one where people have a lot of dignity and want to stand on their own two feet."

'Unambiguous support'

Although the amount has not been finalised, the minimum amount being proposed is £3.30 per month, while the maximum is £3.70 per month. This would pay for an office and two members of staff to co-ordinate and support residents.

People on benefits and the elderly would not have to pay.

Robert Davis, deputy leader for the council, said: "As this is an issue of local governance, we want to be assured that there is clear, unambiguous support in the Queens Park area for the establishment of a community council."

The cabinet will decide on 16 April whether to hold a referendum.

Parish councils were abolished in London in 1963 after London County Council was replaced with the Greater London Council.

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