Keep High Peak Local is the theme of a petition to be launched shortly throughout the whole of the Borough calling for a referendum on whether the area should have a directly-elected mayor – with similar powers to London’s Boris Johnson.
Having such a mayor, who would have exclusive and executive powers over Council services, would help to reverse the loss of local influence over council affairs, said Chapel-en-le-Frith man Edmund Bradbury, who is promoting the petition after becoming concerned over recent Council decisions.
These include the problem of the Council’s centrally-located former headquaters at Chinley, which will have been empty and on sale since September 20 2010, with ongoing costs being incurred; and the loss of locally-based jobs through the re-location of the High Peak Council switchboard from Buxton Town Hall to Moorlands House, Staffordshire Moorland Council’s HQ in Leek, which was decided as part of the cost-cutting alliance between the two authorities.
“Even if the existing High Peak staff are re-deployed, there will obviously be the expense to the council of the extra manning costs of the Moorland House switchboard to enable it to cope with High Peak calls,” he said.
And Mr Bradbury said the petition would help to alert the public to the increasing level of involvement of the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, through the alliance, in the running of local services.
“Urgent measures are needed to ensure the future of High Peak as our own local authority, based in and forming an important part of our beautiful county of Derbyshire,” he said.
Petition forms will soon be widely circulated to obtain the necessary 3,601 signatures – five per cent of the registered High Peak electorate – required to ensure the holding of a mayoral referendum.
If the vote is in favour, an election for the post of mayor would follow.