Boundary proposals attract major response from Argyll residents
CONTROVERSIAL and unpopular plans to redraw council boundaries have prompted a significant reaction from the people of Argyll and Bute.
Figures released by the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland reveal a public consultation attracted four times the level of response from the region, compared to the rest of Scotland.
The proposed new council boundaries would move Ardrishaig, Tayvallich and the rest of Knapdale into Kintyre, while lumping Lochgilphead in with Dalmally and Bridge of Orchy in a new Mid Argyll ward. Other changes include the abolition of the Cowal ward and merging areas as dispersed as villages near Helensburgh with others in Cowal.
Argyll and Bute would lose three councillors from the current complement of 36, while one council ward would go.
A three-month public consultation, which closed last month, attracted around 4,000 responses nationally. Of that number, 300 were from Argyll and Bute, which equates to a response rate four times greater than the overall national figure.
When the single responses of community councils are considered, the number of people represented within the 300 respondents grows further still.
Opponents of the plans were delighted to hear the news.
One critic, Mid Argyll councillor Douglas Philand, said: ‘I can only hope the Scottish ministers take cognisance of the strength of feelings associated with the responses and allow the democratic will of the residents of Argyll and Bute to prevail.’
Fellow Mid Argyll councillors Sandy Taylor and Donnie MacMillan were in full agreement.
‘I am personally pleased to see that level of response as someone who has promoted the need for community awareness and response to the consultation,’ said councillor Taylor. ‘ Knowing how communities in South Oban, Bute and Cowal feel, this exceptional response comes as no surprise to me.’
Councillor MacMillan added: ‘At present the proposals are not satisfactory for Mid Argyll. I hope the commission responds to what the people are saying.’
A spokesperson for the commission said: ‘ We will consider all responses to the consultation at meetings in November and December.’
Final recommendations will be submitted to Scottish ministers by May 2016.