THE rise of new hyper-local parties across the borough has raised the subject of devolution for periphery towns. A total of seven councillors now represent these independent groups at Bolton Council.

Leaders of both Farnworth and Kearsley First (FKF) and Horwich and Blackrod First Independents (HBFI) signed an agreement to put the Conservatives in charge.

HBFI leader, Cllr Marie Brady, told The Bolton News that the residents she represents prefer their town not be called “townships”.

She said: “We’ve all got our own individual areas that we’re looking after. But those views have been put forward and I’m happy to say that they have been considered and they’re within this document that we’ve all signed.”

One of the 25 points in the document, which set out the council’s priorities for the next year, concerns town councils. It commits to looking at the roles and responsibilities of town councils in line with a Local Government Association review this summer.

It also builds on a recommendation from local authority leaders last year to invests more in “townships”.

Labour committed to spending millions of pounds to regenerate district town centres and later announced an extra £4m for Farnworth.

FKF was the first hyper-local parties to pop up at the council. Cllr Paul Sanders won the group’s first seat in a by-election last year and was closely followed by two more victories for candidates in Farnworth and Kearsley.

This year, the group grabbed two more seats, meaning the party has won every race it has entered in those two wards. Cllr Sanders said that devolution was discussed in the early days but the party has no formal policy about it.

He said: “When we first started there was talk of Fexit and Kexit. It was at a time when Brexit was getting into the vocabulary. This is possibly something that we could look at in the future but in this moment in time, we’ve got to work within the borough.”