Sefton Council's Principal Lawyer confirms my view regarding a recent Formby Parish Council resolution.
In my first post dated 7 February I wrote to both Formby Parish Council and Sefton Parish Council seeking clarification about the legitimacy of the following resolution:
7.1 To formally acknowledge the resignation of Cllr Gwyther and to determine whether to reduce the number of Cllrs to 14 for the present time, whilst formalising the process to re-draw the boundary of Formby Parish Council to incorporate the area known as Little Altcar Parish Council
You'll see from my original post I challenged the idea that a casual vacancy declaration can be deferred. I also challenged the notion that the Parish Council has the legal powers to alter Parish Boundaries or redraw them.
This morning I finally received the following answer from Sefton Council.
Dear Mr Brady,
I write with reference to your recent emails with Jill Coule.
In relation to Annex A to Chapter 4 of the budget report I have just checked the system and the document can be found at page 169 of the reports pack for this week’s Council meeting. If you are still having difficulty accessing the document please let me know. [My emphasis this was another issue I was seeking an answer for, from Sefton]
In relation to the matters concerning Formby Parish Council (FPC) , [my emphasis] I must apologise for not replying directly to you on the issues. My colleague met with the Chair and the Clerk of FBC on 21st February to cover the issues raised and I had presumed that you were a Parish Councillor and the information would have been passed on to you. I now understand you are not a member of FPC. My apologies.
I understand you raised three issues:
1. What FPC should do when a vacancy arises
2. FPC’s proposal to reduce the number of Councillors, and
3. The issue of a boundary change
I can confirm that your understanding of the legislative position in relation to the three issues is correct. [my emphasis]
Kind regards and once again apologies for not replying sooner.
I now presume that Formby Parish Council has declared or will shortly declare a vacancy and that residents, if they so wish, can express an interest in becoming a member of the Council.
An election will only become necessary if enough voters ask for one, otherwise, the vacancy can be filled by Co-option.
Whichever way this proceeds, I hope the new member is utterly independent of any party or interest group. I also hope the person concerned is much younger than any of the present Council members, no offence intended.
Formby needs a wider range of talents experience and Civic enthusiasm.
As a former Councillor on Sefton and Formby Parish Councils, I'd be very happy to advise.