Up Hatherley Councillors accused of wanting to "expand empire"
COUNCILLORS in Up Hatherley have been accused of wanting to "enlarge their empire" by a resident of The Reddings.
Cheltenham Borough Council is reviewing parish council boundaries and one option could see The Reddings gain another level of local government and be included in Up Hatherley's parish.
David Hall, Up Hatherley parish councillor, has put forward a motion to see if his council would accept The Reddings as part of Up Hatherley.
But the idea has been met by opposition by councillors from The Reddings.
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Paul Barnes told the parish council: "We are the ones concerned and for you to sit here and make a judgement without talking to people means we are bound to come to the conclusion that Up Hatherley is wanting to enlarge its empire.
"I have consulted with people and nobody wants this to happen."
Jacky Fletcher, borough councillor for The Reddings (C), was angry she had not heard of the idea before it was discussed at the meeting.
She said: "The Reddings is not a rural area and that is what parish councils are for and I just can't see what the benefits are.
"I don't think people want another layer of bureaucracy, another precept to pay and another £10 a month on their council tax bill."
Mr Hall denied it was a take-over bid.
He said: "We have been running for 150 years and we have the infrastructure. I feel the people of The Reddings should have a voice and I have consulted with a few people in the area and they would like to join."
Councillors passed the idea on the proviso the area, which used to be part of Badgeworth parish before it was disbanded, was consulted first.
Stuart Fowler, chairman of Up Hatherley Parish Council, said: "I am sorry if there has been a misunderstanding. We are not concerned with empire building."
Cheltenham Borough Council is hosting a meeting on October 15 to look at all proposals for the town.
The new boundary could run from Hatherley Lane to the A40 and Badgeworth Road, back up Reddings Road to North Road.