Bingham Deserves Better petition with power to dissolve Bingham Town Council surpasses number of signatures required for consideration by Rushcliffe Borough Council
A petition with the power to dissolve a town council has surpassed the number of signatu
A petition with the power to dissolve a town council has surpassed the number of signatures required for its consideration.
Created by Bingham residents, the extraordinary petition comes after months of publicly-aired issues on the town council and concern over how it is run — which have been extensively and exclusively reported by The Advertiser.
The Bingham Deserves Better petition launched on February 18 has attracted hundreds of signatures, now totalling more than 830.
For Bingham Town Council's primary authority Rushcliffe Borough Council to consider the petition, it needed to have been signed by at least 7.5% of adults on Bingham's electoral roll — an accomplishment it has now achieved.
Once considered and depending on the borough's conclusion, there is potential for the town council to be dismantled, with the borough council taking over until elections are able to be held — which could be a national first.
Bingham resident and former Independent councillor Tony Fox, who is fronting the petition, said the aim was to get Rushcliffe Borough Council (RBC) to undertake a Community Governance Review (CGR) of the town council.
Mr Fox said: "(We) look forward to RBC carrying out their responsibility in due course.
"The petition is the last resort for a group of Bingham residents who, after months of trying, had failed to persuade RBC to fully investigate numerous claims of violations in the Code of Conduct by specific councillors.
"Petitioning RBC for a CGR under the 2007 Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, is a novel way of asking a higher authority to investigate the behaviour of a lower authority.
"The only previous attempt to use the act in this way was successfully launched by the Honiton Forward group of residents against Honiton Town Council* (within East Devon District Council) at the end of 2020.
"In the strive for more localism earlier in the decade, the current law provides few opportunities to protect communities from bad or doubtful practice in local government.
"(The petition) is not a judge and jury document and merely asks RBC to carry out a formal review. Given the concerns, this is a sound democratic process to carry out.
"Given the recent national publicity of Jackie Weaver at Handforth Parish Council we look forward to many more people from all genders, ethnicities and ages coming forward to stand for council after the CGC has been completed.
"This is something this brave and principled woman is campaigning for and would appreciate, as would the residents of Bingham."
A Rushcliffe Borough Council spokesman said: “We are aware that an online petition has been launched asking for a Community Governance Review in Bingham.
“There is a set process for submitting a petition to the council and it must be validated to ensure that it has been signed by eligible registered electors.
“If the council receives such a petition it will be able to consider it and any appropriate next steps.”
On approaching Bingham Town Council, The Advertiser was referred to Rushcliffe.
*The Honiton petition mentioned above is currently being considered by East Devon District Council. It is not known when a conclusion will be reached, which could allow Rushcliffe's determination to be an unprecedented first.