At the last meeting of the residents, Cllr Sarah Dodds highlighted the proposed changes to the Louth Wards.
I agreed to write and express our concerns about the proposals..here's the text I submitted.
"My name is James Pocklington, I am the Chairman of the Pleasant Residents' Association which would be affected by the changes proposed. Our catchment area is currently bordered by Watts Lane (see 1:). This seems to be a natural boundary. The Robinson Lane Estate which you propose to include in the St Mary's and St Michael's Ward is only accessible by vehicles from Priory Ward as Watts Lane is an unadopted road.
Additionally we have grave reservations about the proposal to have 2 councillor wards in our town. This extends the geographical area for prospective candidates to cover and seems an odd way to extend electoral equality as residents in two councillor wards get two votes as opposed to wards with single councillors. This will complicate the electoral process and further alienate our electorate, too many of whom fail to vote at all.
I fail to understand why equal size electorates are such an important issue. The idea that to make our system more democratic councillors should represent wards of similar size, might seem reasonable in theory but in practice it is meaningless. The democracy of a community is only as good as the councillors that represent it, regardless of whether the councillor might represent 15% more or less residents.
Making these changes will not improve the commitment of councillors which, in my view, is the only factor that can really make a difference to the community. In fact making the boundary twice as large for 2 councillors to cover will deter many more decent folk who might have thought about standing as a prospective councillor. The only people who benefit will be the local printers, (twice as many flyers needed in each extended ward) and the cobblers! (All councillors will have to walk double the distance of a single councillor ward).
I realise that once a review is called for, recommending the status quo might seem a difficult decision to make, but certainly in the case of these proposed changes to Louth Wards, the status quo is the only sensible decision.
Here is a link to the Boundary Commission website if you'd like to know more
If you wish to leave a comment on the consultation then you can do so before the 5th August
Click here for more details