Voters at Fylde BC have forced the council to revert to the committee system in the first local referendum on the issue.
They voted by 11,934 to 8,706 on a 34.2% turnout to scrap the cabinet and scrutiny model after activists collected 3,077 signatures - more than 5% of the electorate – to require the council to hold the referendum. The change must take place by May 2015.
Fylde Civic Awareness Group gathered the signatures last year, using a provision in the Localism Act 2011 to force a referendum.
Its move followed a series of local disputes including over swimming pool closures and loss of heritage buildings.
The group said at the time that it had sought the referendum because it was concerned that “the new cabinet system of governance had resulted in a lack of transparency and democracy”. It said this was because only seven cabinet members had a vote on most decisions.
That left the other 44 councillors with “no right to speak on your behalf at cabinet meetings, and has no vote on matters the cabinet decides”.
Fylde director of resources Tracy Morrison said: “Voters have considered the issue very fully in recent months and they have voted to return to the committee system.
“The change will involve the council keeping its existing regulatory committees with the establishment of four new committees around the policy areas of tourism and leisure; operational management; health and housing; and finance.”
A similar petition campaign has been launched at Canterbury City Council.