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Labour sets out response to Tory review of boundaries

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21 Feb 2011

Below is the response from Stroud Constituency Labour Party to the review of County Council divisions within Gloucestershire - 10 in Stroud District. However, Labour believes that Gloucestershire Tory plans to cut 10 Councillors don't go far enough and it’s the wrong time to be making changes. We should wait for the review of parliamentary boundaries because if that review makes big changes, the county boundaries may have to be changed all over again. In any case, Labour believes it’s more sensible  to switch to unitary councils instead. Unitary councils mean a more sensible and efficient way of organising and will save millions of pounds for the Council Tax payer every year.

 Gloucestershire County Council single member ward review

Response from Stroud Constituency Labour Party

 

Introduction

On 30 November the Local Government Boundary Commission started its second period of consultation for a pattern of divisions for Gloucestershire. Between 30 November and 21 February the Commission is inviting comments on the division boundaries for GCC.

Following the completion of its initial consultation, the Commission has proposed that the number of county councillors should be reduced from 63 to 53. The districts have provided the estimated numbers for the electorate in their areas in 2016; the total number for the county is 490,674 so that the average electorate per councillor would be 9258 (cf. 7431 in 2010). 

The main purpose of this note is to draw attention to the constraints imposed on proposals for a new pattern of divisions in Stroud district, which could lead to anomalies, particularly in ‘bolting together’ dissimilar district wards and parishes in order to meet purely numerical constraints.

In it own words ‘the Commission aims to recommend a pattern of divisions that achieves good electoral equality, reflects community identities and interests and provides for effective and convenient local government. It will also seek to use strong, easily-identifiable boundaries.

‘Proposals should demonstrate how any pattern of divisions aids the provision of effective and convenient local government and why any deterioration in equality of representation or community identity should be accepted. Representations that are supported by evidence and argument will carry more weight with the Commission than those which merely assert a point of view.’

While a new pattern of ten county council divisions is suggested in this note, it is not regarded as definitive but does contain ways of avoiding some possible major anomalies.

New county council divisions in Stroud district

The electorate in the SDC area is estimated to rise from 90689 in 2010 to 93735 in 2016. The number of councillors will reduce from 12 to 10, and the number of divisions from 11 to 10 single member divisions (the current Cam & Dursley division has 2 councillors).

Most SDC wards show little change in expected electorate but the following contribute largely to the increase:

Haresfield from 321 to 2152 (Hunts Grove development);

Upton St. Leonards from 1724 to 2106; and

Dursley (Central) from 1949 to 2242 (Littlecombe development).

Dividing the forecast electorate of 93735 into 10 divisions of about 9300 each would seem at first sight a relatively easy task. However, the condition of providing effective and convenient local government means that the new county divisions should be made up entirely – or as many as possible - of whole district electoral wards (coterminosity).  The current 11 divisions have a coterminosity of 67% but this has been achieved with a lower mean electoral number (about 7400) and by including a two member division (Cam & Dursley).

A second constraint is that county divisions must be wholly within the district boundary. In the Stroud district this means for example that the geographical position of the current Wotton-under-Edge division provides limited sensible opportunities for creating new divisions in the south of the district. If Wotton could be included with the adjacent Cotswold district wards, as it is for the parliamentary constituencies in the county, a better pattern of county council divisions might be possible.

Similarly, in the north of the district, for the purpose of constructing new county divisions the wards of Hardwicke (now), Haresfield and Upton St Leonards (in 2016) will have more in common with the wards in the south of Gloucester city than the rural wards to which they have to be joined to accommodate 9300 electors. A new division that includes Stroud district wards around the southern periphery of Gloucester city might overcome this, but would reduce the coterminosity considerably.

The pattern of new divisions shown below represent a least-worst solution for the district, but cannot be regarded as entirely satisfactory; but neither can any other pattern that has been explored within the constraints.  The scheme aims to retain the unity of the small towns in the district so that each appears in one division. This pattern has a coterminosity of 60%, which is comparable to the current figure.

Possible  county divisions for Stroud (see Annex 1)

SDC 1

Includes the current county division of Wotton-under-Edge, which includes two district wards, plus the district ward of Vale and therefore coterminous.

Most of Vale ward looks towards Wotton and Berkeley (but see below), as the nearest small towns and service areas in the division.

There are no topographical or communication problems.

SDC 2

The Cam/Dursley area is major service centre for the Berkeley ward

The Berkeley ward is within the catchment area for the only secondary school in the area (in Dursley).

Cam has been a major housing area for employees at the Berkeley nuclear power station and centre

Easy communications between the two areas via the B4066

The new Berkeley Vale hospital will be on the Cam/Dursley border

Retains the integrity of Cam parish in one division

The division is coterminous.

A caveat for these two divisions is that Stinchcombe parish is principally associated with Cam & Dursley rather than Wotton. The parish council made a convincing case on this to the Boundary Commission at the last boundary review.

SDC 3

·         The Coaley & Uley district ward is in the natural service area of the market town of Dursley, and the village schools are in the Rednock (Dursley) secondary school catchment area

·         The B4066 provides a good communication route to Uley and Nympsfield and there are good roads between Coaley and Dursley

·         Inclusion of Frocester and Leonard Stanley in this division is less justifiable. While communications to the rest of the division are easy, these two parishes are more naturally associated with Kings Stanley and part of a county division that includes Stonehouse.

 The pattern of divisions in the south of the district is complicated by the geographical position of Wotton. Any other pattern involves splitting Cam parish into different divisions, or including one Dursley ward into a separate division.

SDC 4

Includes parishes lying mostly between the M5 motorway and the river Severn

Easy communications between each ward

The combination of mostly rural parishes with the urban areas of Hardwicke and (in 2016) Haresfield leads to a division with dissimilar parts.

For much of the area the main shopping area would be Quedgeley and Gloucester.

The division is coterminous.

SDC 5

Stonehouse is a principal shopping and service area for this division.

Communications with Eastington, Standish and Ebley are easy via the A419 and B4008.

Ebley is included here because new housing development between Stonehouse and Ebley effectively links the two areas.

SDC 6

Includes current county division of Upton St Leonards, Painswick and Bisley with the district ward of Over Stroud and is coterminous.

This division is made up of small towns and rural parishes that will mostly depend on Stroud as their service and shopping centre.

New housing in Upton St Leonards could make the northern part of this division more Gloucester oriented in future.

SDC 7

Combination of three similar mostly urban wards and parishes, Thrupp, Rodborough and Cainscross, to the south and west of Stroud town.

Not coterminous only because Ebley in Cainscross district ward has been included with in SDC 5.

All areas have Stroud town as their principal service and shopping area. 

SDC 8

Stroud town is a natural division that includes the six district wards.  

Although the variance of its forecast electorate is slightly over 10%, the division  is coterminous

SDC 9

Combines the district wards of Nailsworth, Amberley & Woodchester with the parish of King’s Stanley.

This is a coherent geographical and topographical division of mostly rural areas and the market town of Nailsworth

The A 46 provides a link between the various areas.

SDC 10

Combines the district wards of Minchinhampton and Chalford;

Two centred division with common communications via the A419 with the principle service and shopping areas of Stroud and Cirencester.

The division is coterminous

Summary

A new pattern of ten county council divisions in the Stroud district has to comply with constraints imposed by current local government boundaries, the size of the electorate in each ward and local geography.

The scheme developed in this note has a coterminosity of 60%, and one ward with an elector variance greater than 10%: Stroud, where the coherence of the proposed Stroud town division compensates for the small difference.

However even though the scheme shows a possible set of new boundaries, some relaxation of constraints would allow a more rational division. In particular for divisions that are concerned with county council matters the county division boundaries would be better in some instances if they could cross district council boundaries. In Stroud district there is a strong argument for allowing Wotton and surrounding parishes to be in a division involving Cotswold district wards; and for wards in the north of Stroud district to be considered with Gloucester city wards.

Stroud CLP has one major reservation to the whole boundary review at this time. The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill has now received Royal Assent and has become an Act. In the review of parliamentary boundaries constituencies may be revised considerably.  The CLP believes that a better system of local government boundaries could be made when the deliberations of the Boundary Commission for England can be taken into consideration, so as to provide more effective and convenient electoral boundaries at all levels.


Annex 1

Stroud CLP scheme for new County Council divisions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parish/Ward

Code

District Ward

Current  Division

Electorate

New Division Total

Variance

SDC 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alderley

HB

Kingswood

Wotton-u-E

65

 

 

Hillesley

KL

Kingswood

Wotton-u-E

373

 

 

Tresham

KLA

Kingswood

Wotton-u-E

99

 

 

Kingswood

KR

Kingswood

Wotton-u-E

1132

 

 

North Nibley

LA

Wotton-u-E

Wotton-u-E

711

 

 

Wotton-u-E

MK

Wotton-u-E

Wotton-u-E

2501

 

 

Wotton-u-E

ML

Wotton-u-E

Wotton-u-E

2026

 

 

Ham & Stone -Ham

KDA

Vale

Berkeley Vale

170

 

 

Ham & Stone -Stone

KD

Vale

Berkeley Vale

400

 

 

Alkington

HBA

Vale

Berkeley Vale

586

 

 

Stinchcombe

LT

Vale

Cam & Dursley

384

8445

-9.9%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDC 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Berkeley

HCA

Berkeley

Berkeley Vale

1559

 

 

Hamfallow

KE

Berkeley

Berkeley Vale

464

 

 

Hamfallow

KEA

Berkeley

Berkeley Vale

488

 

 

Hinton

KN

Berkeley

Berkeley Vale

911

 

 

Cam (Lower)

JOA

Cam West

Cam & Dursley

1469

 

 

Cam (Woodfield)

JO

Cam West

Cam & Dursley

1799

 

 

Cam (Central)

JOC

Cam East

Cam & Dursley

1825

 

 

Cam (Upper)

JOB

Cam East

Cam & Dursley

1516

10031

7.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDC 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dursley (Highfields)

JVA

Dursley

Cam & Dursley

1747

 

 

Dursley (Central)

JV

Dursley

Cam & Dursley

2242

 

 

Dursley (Kingshill)

JVB

Dursley

Cam & Dursley

1446

 

 

Uley

MF

Coaley & Uley

Cam & Dursley

956

 

 

Owlpen

LE

Coaley & Uley

Cam & Dursley

36

 

 

Nympsfield

LB

Coaley & Uley

Cam & Dursley

296

 

 

Coaley

JS

Coaley & Uley

Cam & Dursley

644

 

 

Frocester

KC

The Stanleys

Stonehouse

151

 

 

Leonard Stanley

KS

The Stanleys

Stonehouse

1197

8714

-7.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDC 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eastington

JW

Eastington & Standish

North Stroud

1262

 

 

Standish

LS

Eastington & Standish

North Stroud

235

 

 

Stonehouse (Central)

LUA

Stonehouse

Stonehouse

1443

 

 

Stonehouse (North)

LUB

Stonehouse

Stonehouse

2732

 

 

Stonehouse (South)

LU

Stonehouse

Stonehouse

2031

 

 

Cainscross (Ebley)

JND

Cainscross

Stroud West

1482

9185

-2.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDC 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slimbridge

LR

Severn

Berkeley Vale

929

 

 

Frampton-on Severn

JZ

Severn

Berkeley Vale

1130

 

 

Fretherne

KA

Severn

Berkeley Vale

170

 

 

Saul

KB

Severn

Berkeley Vale

376

 

 

Arlingham

HC

Severn

Berkeley Vale

365

 

 

Whitminster

MI

Severn

Berkeley Vale

679

 

 

Moreton Valence

KY

Severn

Berkeley Vale

136

 

 

Haresfield

KK

Hardwicke

North Stroud

2152

 

 

Hardwicke

KI

Hardwicke

North Stroud

3055

 

 

Longney and Epney

KT

Hardwicke

North Stroud

243

 

 

Elmore

JX

Hardwicke

North Stroud

195

9428

0.6%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDC 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harescombe

KJ

Upton St Leonards

Upton St Leonards

163

 

 

Brookthorpe w Whaddon

JN

Upton St Leonards

Upton St Leonards

289

 

 

Upton St Leonards

MG

Upton St Leonards

Upton St Leonards

2106

 

 

Cranham

JT

Painswick

Upton St Leonards

406

 

 

Miserden

KX

Painswick

Upton St Leonards

390

 

 

Painswick (Sheepscombe)

LG

Painswick

Upton St Leonards

399

 

 

Painswick (Painswick)

LF

Painswick

Upton St Leonards

1845

 

 

Painswick (Edge)

LFA

Painswick

Upton St Leonards

165

 

 

Painswick (Slad)

LH

Painswick

Upton St Leonards

259

 

 

Pitchcombe

LI

Painswick

Upton St Leonards

232

 

 

Bisley (Bisley)

JK

Bisley

Upton St Leonards

728

 

 

Bisley (Eastcombe)

JL

Bisley

Upton St Leonards

578

 

 

Bisley (Oakridge)

JM

Bisley

Upton St Leonards

529

 

 

Whiteshill & Ruscombe

MH

Over Stroud

North Stroud

949

 

 

Randwick

LK

Over Stroud

North Stroud

500

9537

1.7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDC 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thrupp Div 1

MC

Thrupp

Chalford

731

 

 

Thrupp Div 2

MCA

Thrupp

Chalford

542

 

 

Rodborough (Butterrow)

LMA

Thrupp

Chalford

658

 

 

Rodborough (North)

LM

Rodborough

Rodborough

1518

 

 

Rodborough (South) Div 1

LMB

Rodborough

Rodborough

280

 

 

Rodborough (South) Div 2

LMC

Rodborough

Rodborough

218

 

 

Rodborough (West)

LMD

Rodborough

Rodborough

1733

 

 

Cainscross (Cainscross)

JNA

Cainscross

Stroud West

1094

 

 

Cainscross(CashesGreenE)

JNB

Cainscross

Stroud West

948

 

 

Cainscross(CashesGreenW)

JNC

Cainscross

Stroud West

1537

 

 

Randwick (Lower Westrip)

LKA

Cainscross

Stroud West

697

9955

6.2%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDC 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farmhill & Paganhill

MAA

Farmhill& Paganhill

Stroud West

1716

 

 

Stroud Trinity

LZ

Trinity

Stroud East

1745

 

 

Stroud Slade

LY/A

Slade

Stroud East

1667

 

 

Stroud Central

LW/A/B

Central

Stroud East

1663

 

 

Stroud Uplands

MA

Uplands

Stroud East

1746

 

 

Stroud Valley

MAX/Z

Valley

Stroud East

1875

10411

11.1%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDC 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kings Stanley Div 1

KP

The Stanleys

Rodborough

1658

 

 

Kings Stanley  Selsley

KQ

The Stanleys

Rodborough

349

 

 

M'hampton (Amberley)

MJA

Amberley& W'dchester

Rodborough

781

 

 

Woodchester

MJ

Amberley& W'dchester

Rodborough

1011

 

 

Horsley

KO

Nailsworth

Nailsworth& M'hampton

660

 

 

Nailsworth Div 1

KZ

Nailsworth

Nailsworth& M'hampton

2332

 

 

Nailsworth FG Div 1

KZX

Nailsworth

Nailsworth& M'hampton

1429

 

 

Nailsworth FG Div 2

KZY

Nailsworth

Nailsworth& M'hampton

1041

9261

-1.2%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDC 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thrupp (Bourne)

MCB

Chalford

Chalford

240

 

 

Chalford Bussage Div 1

JR

Chalford

Chalford

830

 

 

Chalford Bussage Div 2

JRC

Chalford

Chalford

2089

 

 

Chalford (Valley)

JRB

Chalford

Chalford

482

 

 

Chalford (Hill)

JRA

Chalford

Chalford

1473

 

 

M'hampton (Box)

KUC

Minchinhampton

Nailsworth& M'hampton

305

 

 

M'hampton (Brimscombe)

KUB

Minchinhampton

Nailsworth& M'hampton

586

 

 

M'hampton(North)

KUA

Minchinhampton

Nailsworth& M'hampton

1935

 

 

M'hampton (South)

KU

Minchinhampton

Nailsworth& M'hampton

828

8767

-6.5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

93735

93735

 

 


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