Call for community councils to be given more power

Community councils should be given more power to encourage more people to join them, councillors have said.

The SIC is currently reviewing its 18 community councils, with a 12-week public consultation set to start this month.

The first phase of the consultation will look exclusively at their boundaries – with options including reducing the number of community councils down to just seven, or increasing them to 21.

But several councillors said at a meeting on Tuesday morning that the first step should be to increase the powers community councils have, to try to reverse waning interest in the roles.

Ian Scott, citing the example of the Scalloway Community Council, said they had been powerless to do anything about the proposed Co-op supermarket in the area.

“Whatever the community council decided, didn’t appear to hold any substance,” he said.

“It’s a possibility that’s a reason why there’s a reluctance to join the community council.”

Councillor Davie Sandison said he was worried they were putting the “cart before the horse”.

“I think most of the public discourse will be about the role of the community council, and why would you want to be a community councillor,” he told Tuesday’s special SIC meeting.

Moraig Lyall agreed, saying she was concerned that any changes they made to the sizes of the community councils might affect what power they could be given later.

“I do wonder if it’s the right way round,” she added.


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