Charter Trustees

Charter Trustees

In England and Wales, Charter Trustees are set up to maintain the continuity of a town charter or city charter after a district with the status of a borough or city has been abolished, until such time as a parish council is established. Functions are limited to ceremonial activities such as the election of a mayor, and various other functions depending upon local customs and laws. The Charter Trustees are made up of local councillors in the district representing wards within the boundaries of the town/city. In the event that there are less than three district councillors for the former borough, qualified local electors may be co-opted to make the number up to three.

The original sets of Charter Trustees were set up in 1974, under section 246 of the Local Government Act 1972; in the 1990s several more such bodies were set up in another local government reorganisation. The concept was introduced into the Bill by a government amendment in September 1972. [cite hansard|house=House of Lords|date=1972-09-22|column_start=1494|column_end=1496]

Section 245(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 allowed the 'shadow' district councils to make a petition to the Queen for borough status, prior to their coming into effect on April 1, 1974. In this case, if "it is signified on behalf of Her Majesty before that date that She proposes to accede" to the request then, the style of Borough could be used immediately from April 1, 1974, despite the fact that the Charter would only be presented later.

For the new districts which made no such petition (or where it was refused), for each former municipal borough in the district, which was not to become a successor parish, a body corporate styled the Charter Trustees of the town or city, were established, under section 246(4) of the Act.

Charter Trustees must hold an annual meeting within twenty-one days of the annual meeting of the district council. The first item of business is the election of a town or city mayor and deputy mayor for the next year. The charter trustees of Lowestoft failed to nominate any candidate for the office of town mayor for several years until a change of political control in 2003, the trustees being effectively in abeyance.

Originally, under section 246(7), when the district in which a charter trusteed town was in gained the status of a borough, the charter trustees would be immediately dissolved. Some new district councils petitioned for borough status soon after April 1, 1974, quickly dissolving the Charter Trustees.

This was changed by the Charter Trustees Act 1985, which provided that charter trustees would only cease to exist when a parish council was formed for the area of the former borough.

In the original legislation, charter trustees could also be formed in Welsh Districts, but the Charter Trustees Order 1974, which provided for the establishment of the trustees, stated that the section "shall not apply to the area consisting of the counties established by section 20 of the Act (new local government areas in Wales)", and "there will be no charter trustees in Wales." [S.I. 1974 No. 176]

The failure of the outgoing City of Rochester-upon-Medway council to appoint charter trustees for Rochester and to apply for Rochester's city status to be transferred to the replacement unitary authority of Medway, led to Rochester losing its city status.

When boroughs such as Beverley were abolished in the 1990s, rather than give Charter Trustees authority over the entire area of the former borough, they were instead limited to that part of the borough which was unparished - the area identifiable as the town.

The structural changes to local government in 2009 are likely to affect charter trustees. Charter Trustees may be formed for the City of Durham and the town of Shrewsbury, while Salisbury's trustees may be replaced by a parish council. [ [ "County Council Welcomes Single Unitary Decision", Durham County Council, accessed February 4, 2008] ] [ [ "A City Council for Salisbury", Report to City Area Committee, Salisbury District Council, accessed February 4, 2008] ] [ [$file/ProposedShrewsTownCouncil.pdf "Proposed creation of a new Shrewsbury Town Council", Shropshire County Council, accessed February 4, 2008] ] Charter Trustees may also be formed in Berwick upon Tweed and Blyth Valley. [ [ "Berwick Town Council" (Berwick upon Tweed Borough Council), accessed February 4, 2008] ] [ [ "Chief Executive's Report on Government Publication on Implementing Unitary Local Government", Blyth Valley Borough Council, accessed February 4, 2008] ]



External links

* [ An article about Charter Trustees from the City of Bath]


*Local Government Act 1972
*Charter Trustees Act 1985 (C.45)
*"Local Government in England and Wales : A guide to the New System", HMSO, London 1974

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