Conservative candidate calls for city to have its own council

Antony Calvert
Antony Calvert

WAKEFIELD needs its own council to ensure it benefits from the money it generates, according to the Conservative candidate hoping to represent the city.

Antony Calvert is calling for the creation of a city council as he campaigns to take Wakefield for the Conservatives.

The existing Wakefield Council is responsible for delivering services to a large area outside the city including Castleford, Pontefract and Normanton.

A city council would not replace the current authority but exist alongside it, taking over responsibility for services including public toilets, parks and community centres.

Laws are already in place to allow for the creation of new smaller authorities such as town and parish councils.

Mr Calvert said: “Over the last two years I have asked thousands of people, employers and shoppers in Wakefield about how we can improve the city.

“People tell me all the time that they feel let down by a Castleford-clique of Labour councillors who are only interested in the east of the district.

“A city council can develop policies which benefit Wakefield. I am so determined to ensure my home city is not left behind and can share in the economic growth Brexit is bringing Britain.”

Mr Calvert suggested a city council for Wakefield would 
operate in a similar way to the one set up in Salisbury eight years ago. Salisbury City Council was created as the area moved from a system of county and borough councils, bringing the city under Wiltshire Council.

In common with parish and town councils, it is funded with a precept charge on the regular council tax bill.

Mr Calvert believes that income generated through the existing community infrastructure levy – a charge on developers building in the district – could be diverted to the new city council, removing the need for it to charge a precept. He argued it was unfair as much as £20m of Wakefield Council’s last budget went on capital spending outside the city.

Mr Calvert is proposing to launch a consultation with residents, business, voluntary groups and councillors on the idea within 100 days of the General Election. Wakefield is an important target seat for the Conservatives in the general election.

Mary Creagh is defending the seat for Labour, having represented Wakefield in Parliament since 2005.