MP Rory Stewart has expressed his delight after Penrith residents voted by a margin of two to one for the setup of their own local town council.

The Penrith and the Border MP, who has campaigned strongly for greater localism, especially within his role as the Chair of the APPG for Local Democracy, has been a key supporter of the campaign from the outset, and helped distribute thousands of leaflets within the town, promoting the benefits of a council that would focus solely on the needs of Penrith.

After receiving a petition signed by over 1,500 local residents, Eden District Council organised a postal ballot which was sent out to more than 12,000 residents of the town eligible to vote.

In a turnout of 41 per cent, 65 per cent responded positively to the proposal for the town's own democratically elected council.

A local review group will present their findings formally to Eden District Council on September 18 and, if formally ratified, the necessary arrangements will be set in place for the first town council elections in May next year.


Mr Stewart said: "This is absolutely fantastic news for Penrith. Local residents have voted resoundingly in favour of more local democracy, giving them greater control over the future of their town, and the way in which local services are run.

"It is at this level where people know more, care more, and can do more, and it is why I firmly believe we need to continue devolving power away from central government and back into the hands of local communities, to allow them to realise their own potential.

"From May onwards, Penrith residents will be able to decide for themselves what they value most and how the town should prioritise its time, energy and resources - be it on housing, our high streets, or preserving our small, market town character - to ensure Penrith remains somewhere both wonderful and distinctive."