Let people have say on democracy in Middlesbrough, asks new petition (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Let people have say on democracy in Middlesbrough, asks new petition
LOCALS frustrated with how Middlesbrough is run have launched a petition calling for the elected mayor system to be replaced with a committee.
A residents’ group is hoping to spark a referendum which would ask voters whether Middlesbrough Council would be better served by a team of elected councillors which, it argues, would be more democratic.
The Mayor of Middlesbrough, Coun Ray Mallon, has said this week that he will not stand for office again in 2015 and wants a referendum to decide whether another elected mayor or a council leader is appointed.
However, George Ward, one of the petition organisers, said Mr Mallon’s proposal would still give too much power to just one person.
“A number of Middlesbrough residents have decided that, having given the system of an elected Mayor for the town a fair trial, this being the 11th year since 2002, that the time has come to change back to a more democratic system of local government,” he said.
Mr Ward said that Mr Mallon had himself admitted that his vision to redevelop housing in several suburbs had been too ambitious and an ‘error of judgement’.
“The failure of a system that gives almost absolute power to one person, within the parameters set by the law, is to be seen right across the town and this blight is now to be spread to green field sites in the south of the town," Mr Ward said. "The cost of purchasing, compensating, boarding up, securing and demolishing property in Gresham ward between 2004 and September 2012 has been £30,700,000; St Hildas £6,225,000 and North Ormesby £1,630,000."
Mr Mallon said he planned to convince Middlesbrough Council that a referendum should take place in May next year.
“Over the past 12 months I have had detailed conversations with a number of people with regard to whether the town would be better served from May 15 by the elected mayoral model or leader model,” he said.
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