Councillors hit out at 'flawed' plans to move part of Lechlade into Fairford ward

Fairford councillor Martin Harwood and Lechlade councillor Sue Coakley

Fairford councillor Martin Harwood and Lechlade councillor Sue Coakley

First published in News Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

COUNCILLORS have hit out at ‘flawed’ plans to move a section of Lechlade into the Fairford ward despite the towns being over three miles apart.

Both Lechlade and Fairford Town Councils have criticised the Local Government Boundary Commission (LGBC) for putting forward plans to combine parts of Fairford, Lechlade and Kempsford in one ward.

The commission is carrying out an electoral review of Cotswold District Council to give all voters equality in local elections and to cut down on the number of ward councillors in the district by 10 to 34.

New ward boundaries will be created with roughly the same number of voters in each.

However, boundary plans for Lechlade, Fairford and Kempsford have come under fire with councillors in both towns saying putting Lechlade homes alongside the A417, as well as in Moorgate and The Wern, into the Fairford ward is a bad decision.

Lechlade town and district councillor Sue Coakley said the idea was flawed.

“It’s really important that Lechlade is treated as one whole community,” she said.

“It would be impossible for the ward councillor to manage all the town councils and parish councils in that new area.”

The LGBC has said if Lechlade had two councillors it would be over-represented, while just one ward would have too many voters in it.

Fairford Town Council has also criticised the plan with Cllr Martin Harwood branding it “ridiculous”.

“The people who live in that part of Lechlade are going to be red hot on all things happening in their town but won’t care about what’s happening in Fairford,” he said.

“Human convenience is more important than what is statistically perfect.”

At the moment the Fairford ward and the Lechlade and Kempsford Ward are both represented by two district councillors each.

The LGBC suggests the new Lechlade ward will only require one member with Fairford having two wards – Fairford north with Quenington and Fairford south with Kempsford and a section of west Lechlade.

Comments on the proposals, which affect the entire Cotswolds district, must be made by April 28.

Emailing reviews@lgbce.org.uk or write to Review Officer (Cotswolds), LGBCE, Layden House, 76-86 Turnmill Street, London, EC1M 5LG.

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