Author Topic: Swindon boundary review  (Read 4443 times)

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Offline Des Moffatt

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Swindon boundary review
« on: June 20, 2011, 01:18:31 PM »
Des Moffatt
525a Ferndale Road
Swindon
SN2 1DG
19/6/2011
Review Officer
Swindon Review
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England
Laydon House
76-86 Turnmill Street
London EC1M 5LG

Dear Sirs
I write to object to your proposals for new electoral arrangement for Swindon Borough Council, in particular as it effects north Swindon and the communities therein.
While I understand completely the knock on effect of any changes to individual wards there is an assumption there that only the ward where I live is adversely affected when indeed many of the proposed wards fail on at least two of the declared criteria.

At page 13, paragraph 69 you are in error. As per the freedom of information request reply to me it is not unknown for new boundaries to have connecting roads that for a time are external to general Borough Boundary. The length of road referred to here is 200 meters long and travels through a piece of North Wilts district where the historic boundary is kinked unreasonably at a place with the historic title of Moredon Bridge. In all structure plans for the continued development of Swindon for the last 30 years a road is planned from that very place to connect to Great Western Way initially to Iffley Road and in the last 10 years since the updating of Bruce Street Bridge complex, now to Barnfield Road roundabout.
Planning permission has been granted by North Wilds district Council for a residential development at Moredon Bridge to fill the gap there between West Swindon and North Swindon. Building work has been progressing for a year and many of the units are already occupied.
Swindon Labour Group of Councillors has taken the decision to press for an extension of the Borough boundaries to include this area so that administration of this new development can be better accommodated for all concerned.

If as indicated you primary purpose in setting new boundaries is equalisation of numbers there is reason to be concerned, see appendix C of your report.
The new ward to be called Rodbourne Cheney is 9% over the average while Shaw is 9% under in 2016. The new Pinehurst while not including all of Pinehurst has Penhill and half of the Gorse Hill communities in it is 8% over while the revised Western is 9% under.

The community’s criterion that is listed as a factor in your deliberations does not relate to the communities that actually exist. The case for the cohesion of the current Western Ward is being made by my colleague Cllr Kevin Small. Others wards are equally divided and in particular Gorse Hill.
The division of the Gorse Hill community to the west of Cricklade Road does not work and can not work. It would be expected I presume that the voting venue would be preferred in the polling district to which the elector belongs or at least in the ward where the voter lives. In the division of Gorse Hill all, ALL, public buildings will now be in the Upper Stratton ward. Gorse Hill Community Centre, Gorse Hill School, the three Gorse Hill churches and their attendant church halls, all in Upper Stratton.
The ward to be called Pinehurst will not have all of Pinehurst in it. A part of the former Council estate will be in the new Rodbourne Cheney and an even greater part will be in Haydon Wick. The extended Haydon Wick ward coming over the hill to pick up most of Beech Avenue, a Pinehurst road, traffic managed as such, takes a lot of justification. There is no directly connecting road from Green Meadow to that part of Pinehurst. This is where Rodbourne Cheney actually is, further west would be better described as The Cheneys.

Penhill is a real worry for me, not as a politician but as an older member of Swindon society. As chair of Housing through much of the 80s and early 90s I have always been aware of a feeling of neglect that exists in the community there. In lower Penhill turnout at elections has been historically very low, 10% being the norm. As a party worker I have sought at all times to support local people in being selected and elected and in upper Penhill we have been relatively successful in getting local people to the fore. If Penhill is to be subsumed in a ward that is ribbon ward all the way from Great Western Way to Lower Penhill I fear that the disengagement that afflicts Lower Penhill will happen right across the area to the determent of Swindon as a whole.

I respectfully ask that you look again at the Labour submission that was consulted widely on within our organisation and compromises were reached over a period of months. We do hear your demands that we should put forward an all encompassing alternative.
What we have put forward already is within the published criteria, the numbers are much better than yours, existing communities are recognised and maintained and there is administrative continuity. For me there is the added advantage that Penhill being added to the adjacent newish developments in Abbey Meads will make Lower Penhill more relevant and over time draw that community in.

The evolving and growing Swindon needs to take into account the communities emerging on it borders as it has always done to the advantage of all concerned. The Moredon Bridge community is the next step in that process, do not impede that.
Thank you for reading this communication.
Yours sincerely

Des Moffatt
Councillor for Western since 1983 and Community and Trade Union activist since 1970.



Offline Chav

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Re: Swindon boundary review
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2011, 08:20:54 PM »
I sent my response via email, but haven't had one back yet to say they have received it  :(
"Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects." -- Lester B. Pearson.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Swindon boundary review
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2011, 02:53:12 PM »

Was yesterday (20th June 2011) the last day for objections to be submitted?

Offline Muggins

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Re: Swindon boundary review
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2011, 03:22:59 PM »
Yes, it was Geoff, but I have it on good authority that you can still put one in if you are quick.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Swindon boundary review
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2011, 03:40:55 PM »

Thanks, but I was just wondering.  My electoral knowledge of other wards isn't that great that I'd wish to pass much comment, much less a complaint although I think Des Moffat has made some interesting and cogent points.

I quite like the look of the new West Swindon Wards, I think the numbers look reasonable and the new names seem appropriate.  I've heard that one of my existing ward councillors intended to lobby the Electoral Commission about the renaming of Freshbrook and Grange Park because, it is alleged, if the name was kept as simply 'Freshbrook', (instead of 'Freshbrook & Lydiard' as planned), he and his colleagues would appear to be incumbent councillors in an old ward, instead of being new candidates in a new ward.

This may seem a minor point, but very few residents call FB&GP by it's full title, they simply refer to it as 'Freshbrook'.

Perhaps it should be called 'Lydiard Park' - so there's no mistaking it :)

Offline Muggins

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Re: Swindon boundary review
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2011, 03:45:31 PM »
If you are happy, then you are happy Geoff, it's bound to work for some but not for others. 

There are charts in the back of gubbins about it, you can see there, whether your wards are on a par with others, if it's only numbers that matter to your area. 

Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Swindon boundary review
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2011, 03:58:37 PM »

All I am saying is that I am happy with the relatively minor changes being made in my existing ward, and the ward I will be living in after the changes happen. 

Not sure I deserve your closing remark about 'only numbers mattering'.

Offline 20Eyes

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Re: Swindon boundary review
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2011, 04:02:20 PM »
All I am saying is that I am happy with the relatively minor changes being made in my existing ward, and the ward I will be living in after the changes happen. 

Have to say I agree with Geoff in this instance. The proposed changes in my area actually make more sense than as is.

Although my specific ward won't change, the ward itself has never influenced what I consider to be my geographical or community identity, so it wouldn't make too much difference even if they did change the name.
"Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime." ~ Potter Stewart

Offline Muggins

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Re: Swindon boundary review
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2011, 06:41:13 PM »
Sorry Geoff, I didn't mean to sound dismissive or disagree with anything you wrote - I really did mean to say that if it suits then it does.

In some of the cases only the numbers will matter i.e. ratio of population per councillor.  The boundaries won't be so importnat in some areas as it is in others.   Some of the boundary decisions are better than others, perhaps your area is one of the better ones.

This would be marked up as 'passive' on my flesche reading score.  :)

Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Chav

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Re: Swindon boundary review
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2011, 06:04:46 PM »
I have now got a reply to the email I sent re: ward boundry changes.
I think its probably generic.
Quote
Dear ......
ELECTORAL REVIEW OF SWINDON

Thank you for your correspondence setting out your views in respect of the review of electoral arrangements in Swindon.

Your views have been noted, and will be taken into account by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England in formulating its final recommendations. Please note that this stage of the review is a public consultation, and the Commission places great importance on ensuring openness and transparency in the way it deals with all representations. Accordingly, after the end of this stage of the review, 20 June 2011, full copies of all representations received will bemadeavailablefor public inspection at our offices(by appointment), and at those of Swindon Borough Council. Full copies of all submissions received will also be available for viewing on the Commission's website, at www.lgbce.org.uk.

If you do not want all or any part of your response or name made public, please state this clearly in reply to this letter and we will endeavour to respect your wish. Any such request should explain why confidentiality is necessary, but all information in responses may be subjectto publication or disclosure as required by law (in particular undertheFreedom of Information Act 2000).Ifyou area member of the public and not writing on behalf of a council or organisation we will removeany personal identifiers,suchaspostalor email addresses,signatures or phone numbers from your submission before it is made public. We will remove signatures from all letters, no matter who they are from.

In any event, you will be notified of the Commission's proposed council size in the autumn. The proposed council size will also be publicised on the Commission's website. If you have any queries concerning the Commission's approach to representations, please do not hesitate to contact me on the number below.

Yours sincerely, Paul Kingsley Review Adviser paul.kingsley@lgbce.org.uk 020 7664 8512


"Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects." -- Lester B. Pearson.

Offline Muggins

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Re: Swindon boundary review
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2011, 06:10:48 PM »
It is Chav, I received one today too.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Chav

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Re: Swindon boundary review
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2011, 06:34:19 PM »
It is Chav, I received one today too.
I thought that would be the case. Got mine today too.
It will be interesting to see how many responses they got from across Swindon
"Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects." -- Lester B. Pearson.

Offline Muggins

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Re: Swindon boundary review
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2011, 06:50:16 PM »
You can see the earlier responses now. Interesting one from David.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)