A CAMPAIGN to ensure the “largest unparished area” in the county has proper representation has been reignited owing to concerns over “local decision making and democracy”.

The fight to eradicate a “democratic deficit” in High Wycombe by installing a town council has been revived by deputy Labour Group leader and member for Disraeli ward, Cllr Khalil Ahmed.

Backed up by former Wycombe town mayor Trevor Snaith, Cllr Ahmed galvanised his earlier claim people in Wycombe had been denied a town council in January when plans were put on hold by the shadow executive.

The shadow executive, which was set up to make decisions ahead of the new unitary authority, said a town council should be determined once Buckinghamshire Council was established on April 1.

Cllr Ahmed told the Free Press “neglected” parts of the town needed local representation and that he is seeking “legal advice” on January’s outcome.

“Wycombe requires a town council purely to ensure local people are elected to act in the best interests of Wycombe,” said Cllr Ahmed.

“Wycombe is the only and largest unparished area in Buckinghamshire, and without a town or parish council there is a democratic deficit in terms of representation, especially under the new unitary council which devolves power to this layer of governance.

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“I proposed in 2018 a motion asking Wycombe District Council to have a Community Governance Review before we transitioned to unitary.

“This was voted out. We then obtained signatures from at least 7.5 per cent of the electorate who felt Wycombe needed a governance review with a view to form a town council.”

High Wycombe is still without a town council having had the opportunity denied during a meeting of the shadow executive, on January 7.

It meant no new town council before the new unitary authority came into being, on April 1.

Plans were delayed by Wycombe District Council’s regulatory and appeals committee, who decided it was the decision of the shadow executive.

But the shadow executive also delayed the plans, arguing it should be decided after Buckinghamshire Council came into existence.

At the time, chief executive, Rachael Shimmin, said she had “significant concerns” officers would not have the capacity to deal with setting up a new High Wycombe town council because they had too much work to do ahead of the new unitary.

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“It is clear the only reason Wycombe hasn’t got a town council is the Conservatives do not wish to lose control in such a large area, made up of diverse communities that may not support one party,” said Cllr Ahmed.

He added Wycombe needed a town council to address why high streets and festivals in Marlow and Princes Risborough “outshine Wycombe in every way”.

He also said Wycombe’s 800-year-old “dwindling” market needed representation, as did historic areas like the high street and Frogmoor, “neglected” after the Eden Centre was built.

He claimed there is a lot of political and community “appetite” for a town council, backed up by The High Wycombe Society, All Saints Church, and “cross-party politicians”.

Former Wycombe town mayor, Trevor Snaith, said: “We are seeing Buckinghamshire Council creating Local Hubs.

“The people of Wycombe are not part of the discussion or setting of local priorities. So much for local decision making and democracy.”

Council leader, Martin Tett, said: "I am disappointed by the comments made by Cllr Ahmed about the supposed 'democratic deficit' in High Wycombe. Nothing could be further from the truth. Buckinghamshire Council is committed to strong local working.

"This is demonstrated by its full support for the existing High Wycombe Town Committee and the creation of a new, powerful High Wycombe Community Board, with substantial funding and comprising all the unitary councillors elected by the people of Wycombe.

"Whether the creation of a town council in addition would improve democracy, or merely add more administration and cost, is a decision that can be taken after the planned Boundary Review."