MOSSLEY Town Council would have folded had Labour not fielded candidates at the recent local elections.
Frank Travis, the current chair, was responding to questioning about the running of the new Labour controlled town council and the axing of the role of mayor.
Cllr Travis, replying to criticism from resident Alan Bishop, gave a robust defence of the work of the town council and what they are trying to achieve.
He pointed out Mossley Independent Community Party disbanding after 20 years had left a void in local politics.
Five of the nine town councillors had been member of the Independent party and, in the absence of candidates from other political parties, the town council would have ceased to exist had Labour not put forward nine candidates.
They faced opposition from only one candidate Dean Aylett, who was an independent not affiliated to the Independent party.
Cllrs Idu Miah and Stephen Homer both also responded to criticisms explaining it was not their fault the Independents chose not to contest the election.
“If we had withdrawn from the elections, the town council would have collapsed. We believe we can make positive changes and have no intention of doing away with the town council,” said Cllr Homer.
Mr Bishop wanted to know what the town council was doing to promote Mossley.
While the town council does not have the financial clout of a metropolitan authority, Cllr Travis explained they have initiatives for business development, health, education, employment and making Mossley an attractive place to live.
He added they also work with Mossley Town Team and other community groups
Responding to the replacing town mayor with a town council chair, Cllr Travis added in future it may be decided to reinstate the role.
“You have to remember we didn’t have a mayor for 25 years. It is only in the last 20 years we have had one.
“I have no problem with the role of mayor, it is just we have decided to do things differently,” he said.
Mr Bishop also raised the issue of the former mayor’s fundraising committee, which is no longer being run by the current town council.
He pointed out it raised “a substantial amount of money” for local organisations and was worried about the loss of revenue for them.
“There is nobody to raise £10,000 (the sum raised last year) to give little organisations and which was important for them to carry on,” said Mr Bishop.
Cllr Travis admitted “we will not be raising money as before” but added they have money from the precept to give to local groups, with grants of up to £300.
He acknowledged the “brilliant work the previous council had done” with its fundraising.
“This council will not rely on funding from the precept and hopefully will bring in substantial amounts to contribute in a different way,” Cllr Travis continued.
“I would not have stood if I didn’t think we could deliver, we have lots of projects we want to do, but will do it with different funding and partnering other organisations.
“We are hoping we can bring in tens of thousands of funding and that can be a game changer.
“We have energy and enthusiasm to deliver these projects.
“We will do things differently. It is still early days and I can judge us in 12 to 18 months.”
Cllr Pat Mullin endorsed that explaining he has made a bid for National Lottery money to fund an initiative to help community groups work better together.
“If the bid is successful it will be for a sum significantly larger than the amount raised by the fundraising committee,” he said.