William Eichler 29 March 2019

Charter trustees have ‘had their day’, says local council body

The body representing local councils has urged the Government to abolish charter trustees by the end of the next parliament.

The National Association of Local Councils argues that the 17 remaining charter trustees should be turned into parish and town councils.

Charter trustee bodies have been created, parished or abolished since the Local Government Act, 1972.

Traditionally, they have been created where an ancient borough or district has been abolished and a new one created. They are usually comprised of principal authority councillors covering the same warded areas.

Many charter trustee areas have become a block on new local councils being created, according to the NALC.

Charter trustees are elected as district councillors but they are not elected as charter trustees per se, and many of these bodies incur large precepts.

The NALC also said that many charter trustee areas have not become local councils due to ‘fiercely guarded’ local claims on heritage protection.

‘Most charter trustee bodies seem to have lost their way and have forgotten that they were only ever supposed to be temporary bodies created as a half-way house to a local council being created,’ said NALC chairperson Cllr. Sue Baxter.

‘Some recent charter trustee bodies have become very large local councils and are doing an excellent job as fully elected bodies representing their communities – Banbury, Hereford and Kidderminster, for instance.

‘That is why we think charter trustees have had their day and the Government should parish the remaining 17 charter trustee areas by the end of this parliament. If this has not happened by then, the Government should act to abolish all remaining charter trust bodies by the end of the next parliament.’

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