A 12-MONTH public consultation has started over the future of cash-strapped Brierley Town Council.

Barnsley Council has started the year-long review, prompted by calls for its abolishment after its former clerk Jan Cooper stole £700,000.

Cooper, 52, was jailed for eight years in October 2013.

A petition was started to scrap the town council and a community governance review was triggered, which can grant Barnsley Council the power to abolish the authority.

Coun Alan Gardiner said: "The consultation has started. It's a long-standing issue which needs to be resolved, so we'll listen to what people think and address the matter."