A NEW group has been formed on Kirklees Council.
The five Greens and three independent councillors announced yesterday they would establish an alliance in an attempt to have greater influence on policy.
The move will cost taxpayers more than £7,000 a year in extra allowances to councillors.
As part of the change, Green councillors will take their positions on planning sub-committees for the first time.
And the head of the newly named Valley Independents revealed an ambition to expand into other rural areas around Huddersfield.
The five-strong Greens yesterday formally announced the formation of a new group with the three independent councillors for Holme Valley North.
Green leader Clr Andrew Cooper said: “It makes sense for us to pool our resources and give ourselves more influence on the council. We have a lot in common.”
But the Newsome man added that the two groups would not always vote together.
“We seek a consensus between councillors in the group on important issues coming before the council but fully support individual members to vote as they believe to be right.
“There is no requirement to toe the group line and there are no sanctions for not doing so.”
Clr Cooper and Holme Valley North independent Clr Terry Lyons will be co-leaders of the new alliance, entitling them to share an annual allowance of £9,820 for heading a group of more than seven councillors.
Both men had been entitled to £3,684 each as leaders of groups of six or fewer councillors.
Holme Valley North independent Clr Edgar Holroyd-Doveton will be the new group’s business manager, with an annual allowance of £4,911.
Neither the Greens or the independents were large enough on their own to qualify for a business manager under Kirklees rules.
Overall, the new group will be entitled to £14,731 a year in allowances – an increase of £7,363 from the amount the two individual groups could claim.
Clr Cooper said: “The extra money is certainly not the motivation for this.
“The larger parties decided how expenses should be allocated.
“We’re certainly not going to be asking for three staff to support our group, as the larger parties have.”
Clr Cooper added that the Greens would now take their places on planning bodies for the first time.
The Newsome man will serve on Huddersfield Planning Sub-committee and party colleague Clr Robert Barraclough of Kirkburton will sit on Heavy Woollen Planning Sub-committee.
Clr Cooper said: “When we were a smaller group we were less flexible and the question really was what was the best use of our time.”
Clr Lyons welcomed the new group yesterday. “I think we can come up with better results for the people we represent,” he said.
“But there will be no party whip, if we don’t agree, we don’t agree. We’re still independents.”
Clr Lyons added that his group had plans to re-brand and expand.
“We’re calling ourselves the Valley Independents and we’re going to design a logo which will go on the ballot paper at election time,” he said.
“If people come forward who want to be candidates in places like Holme Valley South or Colne Valley then we would definitely look at that.”
The Greens currently have five seats on Kirklees: Clr Cooper, Clr Julie Stewart-Turner and Clr Graham Simpson in Newsome and Clr Barraclough and Clr Derek Hardcastle in Kirkburton.
The Holme Valley North independents hold all three seats in the ward with Clr Lyons, Clr Holroyd-Doveton and Clr Charles Greaves.
The new eight-strong group is the fourth largest on the council, behind the Lib Dems on 10, the Conservatives with 18 and Labour on 32.
There is one other independent on Kirklees – Clr Tony Brice of Lindley. The former Conservative is not part of the newly-formed group.