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Ilkley town manager role a possibility
Councillors have agreed to look into a fact-finding exercise on the possibility of a town centre manager for Ilkley, amid reservations about the suggestion.
Ilkley Parish Council is to draw up a list of people and organisations it can talk to for more information on the idea, which was suggested by Councillor Stephen Butler.
Coun Butler, who is also a key figure in Ilkley Business Forum, told Council’s September meeting on Monday that Ilkley was the only town in the locality without a town centre manager.
Although the town has parish councillors, and the council has its own officers, he told councillors, there is not currently anyone whose only role is working for the good of the town centre.
“Nobody is working full time for Ilkley,” he said.
“It would be a role that nobody else is carrying out. One of my roles is communications officer for Ilkley Business Forum and we can’t do enough, not as much as we would like.”
Coun Butler asked if the Council could invite a town centre manager from another area to speak at a meeting, and answer questions from councillors, to help them find out if appointing someone in the role of town centre manager could benefit Ilkley.
Councillor Mike Ridgway said he supported Coun Butler, but felt the Council needed to find out exactly what a manager’s role would be and what skills would be needed.
He pointed out problems with car parking on pavements and potholes, had been raised with Bradford Council by parish councillors.
But others asked what the move would cost, and if the possible tasks of a town centre manager are already the role of others.
Councillor Paul Kitching asked if some of the tasks suggested are things the councillors should be doing themselves.
“What’s a town centre manager going to be paid, £35,000? What do we do, put the precept up by 40 per cent, or do we abolish our awards?” he asked.
“If councillors don’t have the time, and have got other responsibilities, should they be on the council?”
Chairman Councillor Mike Gibbons said he would like to hear an objective view from a town centre manager’s employers, rather than only hear the views of such a manager on what the role can achieve.
“Most people know I’m not exactly in favour of this idea,” he said.
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