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Lib Dems’ letter halts controversial boundary review in Derbyshire Dales

July 10, 2021 5:52 PM
By Peter Dobbs

Ward map July 2021 (LGBCE)

(c)LGBCE

A letter from Derbyshire Lib Dems to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England has resulted in the announcement that it has withdrawn its proposals published on 29th June and will undertake a further period of consultation from 31st August until 26th October 2021.

Peter Dobbs (Data Officer for Derbyshire Dales Lib Dems) and David Hughes (Lib Dem District Cllr for Matlock St Giles) wrote to LGBCE pointing out that the final report contained several errors as well as some radical groupings of parishes that had not featured in their draft report published in March.

Data Errors Four of the new wards were given incorrect totals for their projected electorate with the result that two of them would lie outside the target range (10% of the average) meaning that one of the key reasons for the review would be missed. It was carried out so that every District Councillor was responsible for a roughly similar number of residents.

Radical Changes Middleton by Wirksworth, a parish that has been part of the Wirksworth ward for some time, was 'moved' into a newly created and extended Masson ward. Similarly a very large two Cllr ward of Youlgrave was announced in the June 29th report when nothing similar had been present in the draft. These are significant changes and yet there was no opportunity for any comment or modification.

Lack of 'future proofing' One of the weaknesses of the 29th June scheme was that the very wards that would receive the greatest number of new homes under the Local Plan were also the ones that were projected to have electorates nearly exceeding the 10% of average target within 5 years. This could mean that the review would need to be done again quite soon to remedy the imbalance.

What happens next? In a reply to their letter, Jolyon Jackson, Chief Executive of the LGBCE wrote to Peter and David indicating that a new set of draft recommendations will be sent out by 31st August. The public will again be invited to comment on those proposals.

We do hope that this time the LGBCE take more notice of the joint proposals made by the cross-party group in March this year.

See here for the LGBCE website dealing with Derbyshire Dales.