Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Grassroots Government

Last week the residents of Queen's Park ward in Westminster won a two year campaign to establish a Community Council, the first such local elected authority in London since parish councils were abolished in the capital in 1963. In a referendum made possible following a change in the law introduced in 2007, 64% voted in favour of a precept which will add between £39 to £44 a year to typical council tax bills and provide the new body with a budget of £100,000.

The area has a long history of community activism. Its current most visible manifestation is Queen's Park Neighbourhood Forum, a residents' organisation set up with the help of Paddington Development Trust. The forum began the campaign for the new council after its funding was cut by the coalition government. Although situated in one of the wealthiest boroughs in the country, the ward is one of the 10% most deprived - in marked contrast to the 'other' Queen's Park, the upmarket area across the tracks in Brent.

Elections for the new council will take place in 2014. More pictures here

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