DEWSBURY Chamber of Trade is urging other campaign groups to work with it to help improve the town.
Members want the new Vote Dewsbury campaign – which is lobbying for a town council – to discuss with them the best way forward for Dewsbury.
The Chamber has formed a ‘Dewsbury Forward’ group which meets with councillors, community groups and other agencies to look at regeneration issues.
And some think there’s no need for a town council, claiming it could add between £100 and £150 a year to council tax bills.
Paul Ellis, leading the Dewsbury Forward group, said: “I don’t think people signing the petition realise (the cost). Weymouth, a similar-sized town to Dewsbury, is currently going through this process and these are the figures being discussed.
“While the Chamber of Trade fully supports the idea that Dewsbury needs real focus on local problems, the last thing this town needs at this stage is another layer of bureaucracy.
“We prefer to work with other local organisations and community groups at this time, rather than for a town council in another two or three years’ time.”
But residents in Mirfield, which has had a town council for 30 years, pay roughly £1.50 a month to fund it.
Chris Stoner, chairman of the Vote Dewsbury campaign, said: “We welcome what (the Chamber) are doing to help the town and a town council would not undermine that in any way; rather it would co-operate and help raise even more funds to improve the local area.
“There is no need for the Chamber of Trade to raise fears about council tax bills when Mirfield households contribute only about £1.50 a month for their town council, which does fantastic work in return.
“At the end of the day, a town council is a voluntary, democratic body accountable to the community for its decisions.
“It is a tried-and-tested model which works up and down the country. We hope to see Dewsbury thrive with its own town council and Chamber of Trade working together for the common good.”
Treasurer of the chamber, Marilyn Shaw, says they have pledged £5,000 to filling the Market Place with trees and flowers for spring, while also working with investors to help re-open the Black Bull and converting the old Bailey’s cafe into a burger bar.
She said: “These people have confidence in the future of Dewsbury and are putting their money where their mouth is.
“They know what needs doing in the town and are getting on with it.
“The Vote Dewsbury campaign leaders are very welcome to come and add their efforts to what we are already doing.”