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Idea to turn Harrington into 'parish council' divides opinions

Home rule for Harrington has been suggested by a town councillor who wants to see the area strike out on its own.

Stephen Stoddart photo
Stephen Stoddart

The area falls within Workington’s town boundaries but has its own railway station, sailing club and harbour – and a different telephone code from most of the town.

But under radical new proposals it would also receive its own powers as an “independent parish”.

Stephen Stoddart, a town councillor for Moorclose, will call for a referendum on his proposals at a meeting of the town council.

Although he does not live in Harrington, he said the idea had been put to him by “friends and family” who do.

He said: “I have been trying to get it on the next agenda but it might be too late to get it on for this month.

“Seaton has its own parish council and is doing all kinds of good projects.

“Likewise the people of Harrington can take on things that happen in their own area.

“It would possibly make it easier for the town council because they would be covering a smaller area. It would ease the burden on the town council and give people more power over their own lives.”

Mr Stoddart, of Yewdale Court, insisted that the referendum would be worthwhile despite the cost.

A referendum for the whole of Workington would cost about £15,000, but it would be considerably less expensive for Harrington on its own.

“What price do you put on democracy?” he said.

But his suggestion received a lukewarm reception from Hilary Harrington, who not only shares her name with the area but who represents the ward as an Allerdale and town councillor.

“It’s not the right time with so many changes coming,” she said.

“The town council is taking on more responsibilities through the Localism Bill and Allerdale council is also trying to save cash.

“It would be better to sit tight and see where all the responsibilities lie.

She added that it would be up to the three Harrington councillors to raise any idea of independence.

But Tony Gleaves, licensee of the Galloping Horse in High Harrington, welcomed the idea in principle.

“Smallish communities sometimes get the rough end of the stick from the larger councils,” said Mr Gleaves.

But he predicted that there might be some teething problems in getting Harrington and High Harrington to work together.

Retired councillor Allan Caine raised the idea of home rule for Harrington more than a decade ago.

Have your say

I think we should be asking Mr Bracken and Mr Stoddart what they are doing for their own wards before they start dabbling in Harrington? Neither of them live in Harrington, or High Harrington so what does it matter to them? We residents of Harrington do not need their interference. If they have nothing better to do with their time in their own wards then maybe they should just resign from the Council and stop trying to spend our Council Tax on their publicity stunts. Anyone who supports this ludicrous idea should ask Mr Bracken about the 'Save Our Cloffocks'referendum that he and others called for a few years ago. What purpose did that serve? wasn't that a total waste of public money? Finally, do we residents of Harrington and High Harrington really want to increase our Council Tax Bills to create yet another tier of Local Government?
Perhaps we should be putting pressure on the Councillors we already have to make sure Harrington and High Harrington is getting its fair share of the services provided by the County Council, Allerdale Borough Council and Workington Town Council.

Posted by Yet another Harrington Resident on 20 August 2012 at 22:08

@Kevin - when we find out about the lavish banquets, perhaps we can get ourselves an invite, a ticket or blag our way in and have a good night out there?

I'm up for that mate.

Posted by Derek on 15 August 2012 at 12:19

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