Handforth Parish Council could be abolished under boundary review

Published
media captionA cutdown version of the meeting went viral

A parish council that went viral when a Zoom meeting descended into chaos could be abolished, the BBC has learned.

Handforth Parish Council became an internet sensation when a rowdy meeting featuring members being kicked out was watched by millions earlier this month.

A boundary review, which began before the meeting, has suggested it should be merged with neighbouring Wilmslow.

"It's not something I'll be voting for; Handforth needs its own council," said Cheshire East councillor Julie Smith.

Jackie Weaver, who shot to fame for keeping her cool amid the online meeting's sniping, laughter and disarray, said she was "sure the people of Handforth will be up in arms" about the proposed merger plans.

image captionJackie Weaver received praise for keeping her cool during the meeting

She said now is the chance for "both communities to have their views heard".

Handforth parish council attracted international attention when footage of its infamous Zoom meeting spiralling out of control was posted online and went viral.

Ms Weaver, chief officer of the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, said she had received "nothing but positive support" in the wake of the incident.

However, she recently received an expletive-filled email calling her "a disgrace" and saying she "doesn't deserve to be let out of a burning building".

Cheshire Police confirmed they were currently investigating a report of "malicious communication" targeted at Ms Weaver.

Her colleagues who were copied into the email forwarded it to the police, for which Ms Weaver said she was "grateful".

Ms Weaver added: "I didn't take it as a death threat so personally wouldn't have reported it.

"I've had two or three of this type of message but none quite so hostile and unpleasant as this one."

image copyrightHandforth Parish Council/YouTube
image captionDozens of members of the public joined members at the parish council's last meeting

The council's most recent meeting, which again descended into rows, was at one stage watched on YouTube by more than 3,500 people.

Members of the public interjected and made cat-calls throughout.

The boundary review states that a planned housing development will increase Handforth's electorate and suggests Wilmslow should be enlarged to incorporate the parish.

Handforth councillor and Cheshire East Council mayor Barry Burkhill declined to comment on the proposals.

image copyrightHandforth Parish Council
image captionBarry Burkhill featured in the meeting that went viral

Mr Burkhill is facing a vote of no-confidence over his role in December's viral meeting.

Chairman Brian Tolver has been contacted for comment.

A consultation on the proposed changes will run for 12 weeks.

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