Ward boundary changes - have your say

October 16, 2020 5:28 PM
By Peter Dobbs
Ward boundaries - old (OS Maps)

(c) Ordnance Survey

One of the less welcome distractions that this government has thrust upon Local Authorities is the request by the Boundary Commission to revise District Ward boundaries.

This has been portrayed as an attempt to save money but the very small allowance that most District Councillors receive means that the proposed reduction in the number of councillors from 39 to 34 will not result in more than a modest cost saving. It has also been known that the current allocation of councillors means that the number of residents that each councillor represents varies widely across Derbyshire Dales with a councillor representing approximately 2,100 residents in Ashbourne South but only a little over 1,200 in Bakewell. The boundary changes will attempt to 'level things out' with a target of each of the 34 councillors serving about 1800 residents.

Judging by the way that the Conservative controlling group were happy to vote for the lower limit of 34 councillors, they had not attempted to allocate the exisitng parishes in to new wards! The constraint imposed by the need to retain parish boudaries is a very great one with parishes ranging from the very small (12 on the electoral roll) to very large (over 5000).

Your Derbyshire Dales Lib Dem team has used this mapping tool to establish the parish boundaries and then data from the electoral rolls to see how large they are. These are the numbers hand written on to the map. A laborious process of trying to group the parishes into sensible sized units followed, hopefully informed by considerations of local affiliations.

The results are shown in this document and this map (apologies for the hand drawn map and for losing the very top and bottom but it will give you some idea of the 'shapes' of the new wards that we suggest. The large numbers are the number of councillors allocated to each ward.

Comments (asap) are most welcome, especially those that not only see a problem with what we are suggesting but can also suggest a better arrangement. We are all too aware of the many compromises that this proposal represents. (We would have solved the under and over representation problem by having one less councillor in Bakewell and one more in Ashbourne South!). Just use the 'send us your views' button on the website.