Plans for a town council in High Wycombe have moved one step closer this week - as a community governance review was triggered by two petitions.

It comes after a major campaign, backed by the Bucks Free Press, to gather signatures calling for a town council for High Wycombe.

More than 5,000 people signed one petition, calling for a town council for the entire unparished area in High Wycombe.

It was handed into the full council by former mayors, Cllr Khalil Ahmed and Trevor Snaith, on February 21.

Meanwhile, another petition was also submitted on the same night - with a view to forming a parish council in Sands.

The number of signatures on the petition has since been validated by Wycombe District Council and this week they confirmed that the number of validated signatures has reached the number required to trigger a community governance review.

The reviews will need to be completed within 12 months.

Two petitions calling for community governance reviews for the wards of Totteridge and Micklefield were previously submitted before Christmas and have triggered reviews in those wards as well.

For years councillors and residents have called for a council to be launched in the historic market town – with critics slamming the current High Wycombe town committee as a “toothless con”.

Campaigners - including the Bucks Free Press - launched a petition in December to get at least 4,000 signatures so Wycombe District Council will debate plans for a town council.

It is calling for High Wycombe to finally be given a voice in the form of its own town council - in a similar way to other towns, including Marlow and Princes Risborough.

And after calls to launch a major review of the local government set-up in High Wycombe were voted down by Conservatives, this paper - along with fellow campaigners including a number of former mayors of the town - urged councillors to rethink.

A total of 7.5 per cent of the 52,000-strong electorate needed to support the idea of a town council and sign the petition in a bid to demand action from Wycombe District Council.

Cllr Khalil Ahmed said there has long been a “democratic deficit” in High Wycombe.

Handing over the petition two weeks ago, Cllr Ahmed said “history is being made”.

He said: “I hold in my hand the will of the people of High Wycombe to take back control, to have a say in their own future and put some pride back into High Wycombe.

“Over 5000 signatures are here calling for a community governance review for all the unparished wards in High Wycombe.”