Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Calling all Freemen & Freewomen to register for historic ballot.

Lancaster City Council is attempting to contact as many Freemen as possible in order to prepare for a ballot that might make some further historic changes to the criteria for the admission of Freemen and Freewomen.

The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 has made provision for any reference to the admission of the son of a Freeman to be amended immediately to allow the daughters of Freemen and Freewomen to be admitted also. The Court held on July 9 saw the first six women being admitted as Freewomen this year.

Lancaster, however, has three other admission criteria for Freemen which at present are only available to men.
* To have served an apprenticeship to a Freeman or Freewoman for a period of seven consecutive years
* To be a native of the City (having been born within the old City boundaries)
* To have been a resident within the old City boundaries for a period of seven consecutive years.

These criteria are set out in the County of Lancashire Act 1984, and by virtue of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009, may only be amended to include women by a specific statutory procedure, which involves the making of a “qualifying resolution” which has to be approved by a ballot.

The city council has to first identify as many living Freemen and Freewomen as possible, and update their contact details, so that they can be balloted on whether to make the necessary changes to allow both men and women to be admitted in these categories.

Once a database of names and addresses of the current roll of Freemen and Freewomen has been identified, discussions will be held with a view to three being asked to propose a qualifying resolution.

A “qualifying resolution” is one that is proposed by three or more “eligible persons”, (the eligible persons being the Freemen themselves). It then has to be passed by a majority of the eligible people voting on the resolution, provided that at least 10% of those to whom notice is sent actually vote. An eligible person is a person whose name is on the roll of people admitted to the freedom of the city.

In order to make the amendments final, if the result of the ballot is found to be in favour, an order of the Secretary of State will be required to amend the County of Lancashire Act 1984, in order to implement the resolution.

Freemen and Freewomen who wish to be balloted are asked to contact the Mayor’s Office, Town Hall, Lancaster, LA1 1PJ providing details of their admission date and the address at which they were admitted, together with current contact details.

The deadline for replies is 31 August 2011, after which date further details will be sent out to any of those who have registered an interest in being balloted.
Freemen who currently receive Marsh Grass payments have automatically been added to the database.

Image: The new Freemen and Freewomen of the City who were admitted on July 9 2011.
Back Row
Wendy Newbery, Chief Executive Mark Cullinan, Kerry Mason, Deborah Mason, Lisa Vines, Scott Preston
Front Row
Roger Sherlock, Ellen Brockbank, Mayor of Lancaster Coun Paul Woodruff, Mayoress Dee Wodruff, Julie Taylor

See also:
Lancaster Freewomen are on the Roll
Council to invite applications for Freewomen of the City

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