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LUCKY EIGHT TO GAIN QUALITY PARISH STATUS ARE NAMED

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The first eight councils to gain quality parish status were named by rural affairs minister Alun Michael at the Nat...
The first eight councils to gain quality parish status were named by rural affairs minister Alun Michael at the National Association of Local Councils' annual conference.

Four are in Essex - Osyth, Loughton, Great Baddow and Witham - and three in Devon - Ivybridge, Cullompton and Stokenham. The final one is Poynton in Cheshire.

Quality parishes can apply to higher-tier councils to take over a range of services including noise and nuisance abatement, development control, litter, parking restrictions and street lighting - except on principal routes.

An NALC spokesman said only eight out of some 9,500 parishes had so far qualified because of stringent demands including at least 80% of members elected, and a clerk who has qualified under a new training scheme.

Mr Michael, who launched the scheme in March, said: 'The quality parish scheme can bring fresh vibrancy to local community democracy.'

Edward Davey, who shadows the ODPM for the Liberal Democrats, told the conference that he wanted to see parish councils set up throughout England and Wales.

Conservative shadow local government spokesman Eric Pickles urged the creation of more parish councils in urban areas.

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