Cheshire East Council

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Handforth Parish Council changes name following viral video, faces potential merger under community governance review proposal

Handforth Parish Council, which achieved online infamy after the recording of a contentious meeting went viral last year, has changed its name to Handforth Town Council, it has emerged.

From July, the council has been named Handforth Town Council, in an effort to distance itself from the "viral, toxic Handforth Parish Council as portrayed on YouTube”, according to its chairman Cllr John Smith.

Cllr Smith said it was felt that Handforth residents would identify more with a secular name rather than the religious and 'Vicar of Dibley' associations conjured by the word "parish".

In his update, Cllr Smith confirmed that two councillors, Cllrs Burkill and Brewerton, have since resigned their positions as parish councillors.

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He added that the chairman at the time of the 2020 meeting, Brian Tolver, had resigned all his Chairman and Vice Chairman roles but remained a Town Cllr.

Cheshire East Council is currently conducting a review of town and parish council governance arrangements across the Cheshire East Borough.

As part of the review, the borough council has advanced a proposal to merge the parishes of Chorley, Handforth and Wilmslow, in order to create a town council comprising 20 councillors.

Four of the twenty councillors would represent Handforth.

In a response to the proposals, Handforth Town council said, "it is felt that local community identity will be lost through this proposal as well as risking a democratically weaker voice for all the residents in one enlarged Wilmslow Council".

All three parish councils oppose the plan.

Cheshire East is currently seeking comments from the public on the proposals, as part of the consultation stage.

Adam Carey

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