EXCLUSIVE: We break the news to Mr Broadfield he must wait four years for elected mayor referendum
PUBLISHED: 16:09 11 August 2011
POP promoter Matthew Broadfield discovered today he's wasting his time trying to stage a referendum since the law won't allow it.
"I’m begging you not to waste Council Tax payers money on a fruitless exercise."
I dropped the bombshell onto Mr Broadfield via Twitter – the social network site he first used to launch his campaign.
For weeks Mr Broadfield has been trying to collect enough signatures to force a referendum on the issue.
But even if collects the 3,300 signatures needed, Fenland District Council cannot oblige him until 2015 at the earliest.
And that’s because Mr Broadfield failed to read the small print in the law which changed from five years to ten years the time gap between referendums.
Ian Hunt, solicitor to Fenland District Council, confirmed that the Local Government Act 2000 which introduced legislation for elected mayors did say a referendum could be held every five years.
But an amendment came into force in 2007 which says a local council in England “may not hold more than one referendum in any period of 10 years.”
Mr Hunt said he had been “following the Twitter chatter” with interest.
Earlier Mr Broadfield had come under fire from Whittlesey town, district and county councillor Martin Curtis.
Cllr Curtis told Mr Broadfield: “I’m begging you not to waste council tax payers’ money on a fruitless exercise.
“The outcome is a given. You will lose. The referendum will cost £50,000.”
Mr Broadfield, who unsuccessfully stood as an independent candidate in May’s local elections, has argued that “mayors will be more visible and will clearly be seen to be leaders of their communities.”
Six years ago Elm parish councillor Robert Pinnock unsuccessfully tried to get an elected mayor for Fenland.
He wished Mr Broadfield well but admitted “I fear that the apathy of the electorate may well go against his endeavours”.