Sally Robertson, independent councillor for Burghill, Holmer and Lyde, says parishes warned about ward plan (From Hereford Times)
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Sally Robertson, independent councillor for Burghill, Holmer and Lyde, says parishes warned about ward plan
8:00am Sunday 29th April 2012 in Letters
IN response to John Jones’s letter (Readers’ Times, March 29) when he stated Rosemary’s Lloyd’s letter (March 15) was misleading, as the ward member for Burghill, Holmer and Lyde, I cannot let this remark pass without putting the record straight.
In February, a first draft plan showing the reduction of council seats was circulated at a meeting of group leaders. It was noted that four seats had vanished, one of which I represent – Burghill, Holmer and Lyde – part being amalgamated with Wormsley Ridge and Holmer joining Hereford City.
This draft map clearly shows that it was drawn up by Herefordshire Council, not the Boundary Commission, and it became apparent that four high voting independent seats were the ones that had been abolished.
While I appreciated that the plan was only in its draft stage, it was only right that I should advise the parish councils in my ward of the possible split. It was certainly not a case of scaremongering or misleading anyone, but of openness and transparency which is what local government should be all about and which is sadly lacking.
As they say “forewarned is forearmed”.
At the council on March 2, the Conservative administration voted for reducing the current seats from 58 to 54. At the meeting, the leader of the council very graciously made a public apology to me for the upset the draft plan had caused.
As the authorityhas now had its submission for a 54-member council accepted by the Boundary Commission, Coun Jones is right when he says the decision now rests with them. The current consultation started on March 27 and ends on May 8 and the Boundary Commission is inviting proposals for the number of councillors who should represent Herefordshire in the future.
This is the first stage and it will be considering the number, names and boundaries of wards during two further periods of public consultation later in 2012.
The 2003 boundary changes created instability among all three of my parishes and by collaboration, joint working and partnership arrangements over the last nine years, we have established a secure base for our communities.
We have a proven record of fighting anything that potentially will destroy or impact on our electorate and which could affect the future viability of many of the projects in the ward.
With this in mind, I fully endorse Rosemary Lloyd’s letter as it highlighted the possible boundary change and the effect this would have on our ward if it became reality. It was also based on fact, not fiction, and is supported by the draft plan I have in my possession.
The council’s new charter states that it will seek to give parish councils the opportunity to comment on their local area before making decisions; this certainly was not the case when drawing up the first draft plan where neither I nor the parish councils was consulted.
SALLY ROBERTSON, Independent Councillor for Burghill, Holmer and Lyde, Bakers Furlong, Burghill.