Handforth Parish Council – made famous by that Zoom meeting
Written by Hitmix News on 25 February 2021
A parish council that went viral after a Zoom meeting descended into chaos could be scrapped.
The bad tempered – and occasionally foul-mouthed – meeting of Handforth Parish Council became an internet sensation, largely thanks to participant Jackie Weaver’s calm handling of the unruly behaviour.
A clip has been viewed millions of times around the world and made an unlikely star of Ms Weaver, who struggled to maintain order in her role as chief officer of Cheshire Association of Local Councils.
Despite her efforts, Ms Weaver was forced to remove the council chairman from the virtual meeting after he made the now famous accusation “you have no authority here”, prompting another councillor to demand she “read the standing orders”.
Image: Jackie Weaver attending the infamous Handforth Parish Council meeting. Pic: YouTube
Both the council and Ms Weaver were trending on social media and have since become household names.
But now, a review of parish and town council boundaries in Cheshire East, which began before the meeting, is proposing Handforth should merge with its neighbouring parish of Wilmslow into one larger authority.
Another option is merging Wilmslow and the parish of Chorley.
A new 185-property housing development on the edge of Handforth will mean a rise in the number of electors by about 330 bringing the total number on the Handforth electorate to 5,814 by 2025.
The report said: “The new [Clay Lane and Sagars Road] development is adjacent to the existing Handforth settlement area and so will form part of the wider community of Wilmslow – Handforth.
“It is therefore proposed that this area should be transferred from the parish of Styal to the proposed enlarged parish of Wilmslow, which the Borough Council also proposes to include the existing parish of Handforth.
“Cheshire East Council considers that there will be merit in merging the existing parish of Handforth with the parish of Wilmslow as, to all intents and purposes, they form a single community.
“It will be appropriate to consider whether there should be separate representation of the electors of Handforth on the merged parish council.”
They will have to revise the standing orders.
— Mike Amesbury MP (@MikeAmesburyMP) February 23, 2021
But despite the increase in the electorate, a council document outlining the proposals said the whole Handforth parish would remain a similar size to the average Wilmslow ward, so there was “therefore a good case for making Handforth a single parish ward within the merged parishes”.
The news has prompted a notable reaction on Twitter, with Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury joking councillors “will have to revise the standing orders”.
Although the changes have been suggested, they are not final, as residents will be able to give their views in an upcoming 12-week consultation.