Queens Park UCC abolished by 2013

MBTC-18-09-12- Balal Shah. Bedford.''Taxi and private hire vehicle association representative. Mill St, Bedford.

MBTC-18-09-12- Balal Shah. Bedford.''Taxi and private hire vehicle association representative. Mill St, Bedford.

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Queens Park is to lose its Urban Community Council, the Times & Citizen can reveal this week.

Mayor of Bedford Dave Hodgson has written to Queens Park Urban Community Council (UCC) telling the body that it is to be wound up in March 2013.

Councillor Balal Shah claims that the move is unfair, and that it has come as a shock.

He said: “This was a surprise to us, it is such short notice.

“I think it is happening because of financial cutbacks. It certainly isn’t something we were consulted over, we have been given notice.”

He added: “I think this is unfair and unjust. I believe that people should have a variety of representation, not just two councillors at the borough council, only one of whom lives in Queens Park.

“We have got 11 members on the UCC who live all over the whole area. People appreciate having different people they can come to with their concerns so that we can take them to the council. Abolishing the UCC means there are less people championing and fighting for Queens Park.”

Urban Community Councils were established by the Borough and County Councils in 1994 as a pilot project in Brickhill, Cauldwell and Kingsbrook and Queens Park. They were intended as a trial in order to test whether parish councils were appropriate for those areas.

Dave Hodgson, the Mayor of Bedford, said: “Urban Community Councils were always intended to act as pilots, and to operate as a trial prior to a parish council, which would exercise powers and operate with a clear mandate and hold regular local elections. The expiry of their extension following the unitary transition and the recent governance review highlights once again the difficulty we have in the Borough with parishes in place across most of the area but not the majority of Bedford itself. I have always believed that real power should be exercised at the lowest practical level as local communities know what is best for their area, and parishes of course enable this where they exist. I want to thank all those who have served on the UCCs, and reiterate our commitment to working with all communities to improve all parts of the Borough and make it an even better place to live and work.”