New op­po­si­tion to bound­ary changes

The Oban Times - - News -

‘TIN­KER­ING’ bound­ary changes for Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil elec­tions are ‘driven by ir­rel­e­vant num­ber-based for­mu­lae’ with ‘no fi­nan­cial sav­ings’, the re­gion’s MSP has told Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Kevin Stewart.

Michael Rus­sell, the SNP MSP for Ar­gyll and Bute, wrote to Mr Stewart ask­ing him not to im­ple­ment the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Bound­ary Com­mis­sion for Scot­land’s rec­om­men­da­tions, sub­mit­ted in May to Scot­tish min­is­ters for ap­proval.

The com­mis­sion’s fifth elec­toral re­view looked at the num­ber of coun­cil­lors and the elec­toral ward bound­aries in each of Scot­land’s 32 lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, ready to be im­ple­mented in time for lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions in May 2017. There were two con­sul­ta­tions in 2014 and 2015 and the pub­lic can again have their say un­til July 7. The rec­om­men­da­tions re­duce Ar­gyll and Bute’s coun­cil­lors by three to 33 and pro­pose changes to the Oban North Ward and the new Mid Ar­gyll Ward, now run­ning from the top of Loch Fyne to the Garvel­lachs.

Be­fore be­com­ing Oban North and Lorn’s newly- elected coun­cil­lor on June 2, Kieron Green called for a cross-party con­sen­sus to op­pose the pro­pos­als. He said: ‘ The Oban South and the Isles ward re­mains un­changed, but the Oban North and Lorn ward is still pro­posed to have Lu­ing, Seil, Kil­nin­ver and Kilmelford, Avich and Kilchre­nan and the east Lochawe­side sec­tion of Glenorchy and In­nishail Com­mu­nity Coun­cil moved to the Mid Ar­gyll ward. The only change made to ear­lier pro­pos­als has been to keep Dal­mally and Glenorchy within Oban North and Lorn.

‘ While th­ese pro­pos­als only di­rectly af­fect five com­mu­nity coun­cil ar­eas, they af­fect the en­tire area through the re­duc­tion in Ar­gyll and Bute coun­cil­lors rep­re­sent­ing our area and the changes to the area bound­ary. They cut the link be­tween nat­u­ral com­mu­nity bound­aries and the coun­cil­lors rep­re­sent­ing th­ese ar­eas which could lead to coun­cil­lors un­fa­mil­iar with lo­cal con­cerns, as well as po­ten­tially af­fect­ing ser­vice de­liv­ery in fu­ture if more ad­min­is­tra­tive bound­aries are changed to match the new wards.

‘ We pre­vi­ously met to dis­cuss th­ese pro­pos­als and sub­mit­ted a joint re­sponse on be­half of 10 of our com­mu­nity coun­cils con­cern­ing this is­sue. It is vi­tal we make it clear there is a con­sen­sus from our com­mu­ni­ties that is cross-party in op­pos­ing th­ese pro­pos­als. Now is the time to be con­tact­ing our lo­cal MSP, the High­lands and Is­lands MSPs as well as the min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for lo­cal gov­ern­ment to make our feel­ings clear – both as in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­nity coun­cils.’

Any com­ments on the re­ports and their rec­om­men­da­tions should be sub­mit­ted by July 7 to: Tony Ro­main, Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment, Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Pol­icy and Re­la­tion­ship Unit, Di­rec­torate for Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Com­mu­ni­ties, Area 3J, Vic­to­ria Quay, Ed­in­burgh, EH6 6QQ.

Michael Rus­sell op­poses the changes.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.