A Letter from Nantwich

Written in March 2008 ::  re-edited in May 2020                                                                          

Town council that is the talk of the country 

THE people of Nantwich have a town council of some quality - and that's official. The local authority has been awarded Quality Town Council status in a scheme set up by the Government in 2003.

   It is, says the council's quarterly newsletter, Talk of the Town, "a sort of kite mark for town and parish councils". In fact, the production of the newsletter was one of the things that convinced the powers-that-be that Nantwich Town Council was worthy of the award.

   The council headquarters are in the rather grandly named Brookfield Hall (pictured left and below). The single-storey, partially wood-clad building stands near to Brookfield House (a much grander building) the one-time home of the former Nantwich Urban District Council.

   Quoted in Talk of the Town, the Chairman of the council, Cllr Bill McGinnis, said: "To obtain quality status, the council had to show it communicates regularly with residents, has elected locally-involved councillors and is properly run so far as meetings, records and accounts are concerned."

   Only 500 out of the 8,000 local councils in England gained the award. "A real feather in our cap", said Cllr McGinnis.

 

lIN fact, they had won the award the previous November, but the council was making a night of its annual meeting (invitation only) by having a celebration with guests from local organisations.

  There was a genuine fear that some of our cherished town projects would be lost when new authority

councillors from outside the local area got to vote for or against the town's wishes. However, they seemed to have secured the scheme to bring in alterations at the town's open-air swimming pool before losing control.

   It was bad enough back in 1974 when Nantwich Urban District Council (as the town authority was called then) became part of a new authority, Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council, along with the Nantwich Rural District Council.

   There were far fewer pet schemes competing for available cash in that council than there would be in East Cheshire. That name still sounds odd to me because we are a South Cheshire market town.

 

 The civic celebrations evening was also to include the presentation of awards to the people who produced the "most attractive Christmas Lights display" the previous year and the presentation of grant cheques to local groups and societies - said to be a new venture even though the council had made such grants for years.

 

 

This is Brookfield House - the former home of Nantwich Urban District Council. Now it is a residential home for older people.

  I spent many a happy Monday evening in the council chamber - the single storey part (with two windows) at the front of the building - reporting on the councillors' deliberations for the local newspapers.

 

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