Ashfield council to honour past councillors through 'alderman' scheme

Former councillors who have gone "above and beyond" for Ashfield District Council are set to be recognised by the authority under new plans.

At the first meeting of the full council in the new administration on May 16, Ashfield District Council voted in favour of plans to create honorary aldermen and alderwomen positions in recognition of people who have provided a "thankless service" to the people of Ashfield.

Ashfield District Council.

Ashfield District Council.

The civic role can be bestowed on people who the council deems have "rendered eminent services" to the authority as past members, but who are no longer sitting members of the council.

Councillor Tom Hollis, deputy council leader, said: "This is a prestigious role and a way for us as the council to thank people who have provided a valuable service to the district.

"Being a councillor is often a thankless role. We spend a lot of time and effort working for the people of Ashfield and we do it because we want to make the area a better place.

"This is our way to say thank you to these people, not just for the service they have provided for the authority, but for the people of Ashfield on a whole."

Honorary aldermen and alderwomen will be invited to attend civic ceremonies wearing their recognised badge, and they will receive invitations to a series of council-run events such as last night's annual council meeting.

The new scheme will be funded out of the council's civic budget, however no costs have been put forward by the authority on how much it will cost.

It was passed by a majority of 33 votes to two last night, with all members but Labour's Hucknall South councillors Lauren Mitchel and Keir Morrison voting in favour of the scheme.

Labour see the scheme as a "backslapping exercise" which will be an "unnecessary" cost to the council.

Coun Morrison, deputy leader of the Labour group said: "This does nothing to serve or add value to the residents of Ashfield.

"The introduction of this policy will be paid for out of the ‘civic budget’ but in the council report it didn’t state a specific indicative cost albeit being described as ‘minimum cost’

"From a Labour perspective we see this as a backslapping exercise that will be an unnecessary extra cost to the public for no reason whatsoever apart from to give ex councillors a meaningless status by the Ashfield Independents party.

"That’s the reason why we voted against the policy previously and again last night."