Merger would mean less councillors, say the Tories

Change on the way? Photographer and film-maker Peter Thornton took this shot of Calderdale's administrative Halifax from Beacon Hill
Change on the way? Photographer and film-maker Peter Thornton took this shot of Calderdale's administrative Halifax from Beacon Hill

CONTROVERSIAL proposals tabled by Calderdale Conservatives to merge some council services with those of neighbouring Kirklees would offer better value for money, they claim.

But the other parties claim that with a programme of cuts to Calderdale’s own service the joint venture isn’t needed and would destroy the area’s identity.

The Conservative basic plan would be to create three councils, with Kirklees split into two. Calderdale would remain a metropolitan council under its present boundaries but the number of councillors would be reduced from 51 to 36 to make the electoral wards equal in size to Kirklees wards.

Democratic power and legal powers would be held by each of the three councils in the three centres of Dewsbury, Halifax and Huddersfield. Each council would run its own neighbourhood services from its own centre but strategic services would be managed as one and equally split between the three councils, based within the three centres and commissioned by the three councils.

But the leader of Calderdale Council, which is currently run by a coalition of the Liberal Democrats and Labour, Coun Janet Battye, said the council had already cut back on senior management posts.

“We no longer have a deputy chief executive, the number of section heads in each directorate has been cut and we have flattened the management structure so that it has less tiers and more clear lines of responsibility,” she said.

Calderdale Conservative group leader Stephen Baines said myths about “Huddersfax” or “Halifield” were completely unfounded. “Calderdale will remain a metropolitan council with its present boundary but we are proposing to reduce the number of councillors and make the electoral wards equal in size to those in Kirklees,” he said.