A CALL by an Ilkley parish councillor to give allowances to councillors does not represent the view of the majority of members, says the new chairman.

Councillor Heathcliffe Bow-en, who last week took over the chain of office, says his decessor Coun Brian Mann's comments about cutting down on the council workload or offering allowances to parish councillors were entirely his own personal views, and not those of the whole council.

And he claims raising the issue was done in an inappropriate arena, as it has not been customary in the past for a retiring chairman to use the annual meeting to air their own contentious of controversial views.

Coun Mann last week used his chairman's retiring speech to bring up the suggestion.

In an official statement, Councillor Bowen said: "His remarks were made without any prior consultation with the council and do not in any way represent the views of a vast majority of councillors.

"Coun Mann's comments also signified a suggested far-reaching and unwarranted departure from the ethos of the parish council, in that councillors have given freely of their time over many years in order to serve the community."

Coun Bowen said small allowances and out-of-pocked expenses are available to councillors, and claims it was generally agreed by members that payment for parish councillors would essentially alter the nature of the work they do.

"A number of new councillors joined the parish council last year with no thought of receiving payment and several existing councillors have in fact taken on additional resp-onsibilities recently, for example allotments and Ilkley Cemetery work, without any thought of recompense," said Coun Bowen.

"Apart from the difficulties in setting an amount that is useful rather than one that is merely a token, payments for councillors would have to be borne by either an increase in the parish precept or a reduction in the amount of money currently distributed to local associations, groups and projects."

Coun Mann claimed last week that the nature of the council was changing fast due to increasing devolved powers and responsibilities giving more work to a council already shrunk by the breakaway of Burley and Menston.

The council held more than 50 meetings in the last council year, despite attempts to slim down its working groups and committees system.

Coun Mann believes long-standing members may not stand for re-election in future, and paying allowances could help encourage younger professionals to stand for council seats.