Opposition grows over boundary plans
OPPOSITION to plans for a ‘ludicrous’ redrawing of local ward boundaries in Argyll and Bute has won support from the umbrella body for Scotland’s councils.
David O’Neill, president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), has said he fully backs opposition to the proposals already voiced by Argyll and Bute Council, politicians from all tiers of government, and a coalition of community councils.
Under the proposals, much of the Oban North and Lorn council ward would become part of a much larger Mid Argyll ward.
They all use, and rely on, a wide range of council services, health facilities, local businesses, social clubs and transport links located in Oban. Other areas of the proposed Mid Argyll ward are much closer to Lochgilphead, or even Dunoon, and as such do not share these links with Oban.
Oban North and Lorn is also one of the wards set to lose a councillor, as Argyll and Bute faces reduced elected member numbers, from 36 to 33. At a meeting earlier in the year, arranged by community councillors in the affected areas, councillor for Oban North and Lorn, Iain Angus MacDonald, called the plans ‘ludicrous’.
And in an earlier statement to the Boundaries Commission, Argyll and Bute Council spoke of its ‘significant concern at the impact these proposals will have on existing communities’ when it rejected the proposals.
In a letter to the commission’s chairman, COSLA chairman Mr O’Neill said: ‘In our view, for many reasons, these proposals will not make sense at community level and this is a fatal flaw in the Boundary Commission’s review.
‘The points made by Argyll and Bute in its letter to you reflect all of these concerns in some detail and provide significant evidence of the adverse impact for the Argyll and Bute area and the communities it serves.’
Final recommendations to Scottish ministers by the commission will be made after the Scottish Parliament elections in May of next year.
The map shows the proposed changes. The striped area, currently
part of Oban North and Lorn, would move to the Mid Argyll ward.