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Some more thoughts on boundaries

(December 06, 2008)

This letter has been sent to the Electoral Commission regarding  the town council wards outlined in the X factor

Dear Sirs,
I would like to thank you for the work you have done working with our local authorities to prepare for the new unitary authority.
As a former town councillor and deputy mayor of Warminster I would like you to reconsider your proposals for parish warding of my home town.
I believe there is a real opportunity to make considerable improvements to the electoral arrangments for the town council and your proposals go some way towards that aim.
I recall the amount of work it took to represent one half of a town the size of Warminster.
I believe there is a strong case for Warminster to have seven parish wards consisting of two members each. With an overall electorate of nearly 14,000 this would see parish wards of approxiamately 2,000 voters each helping achieve good local representation.
Looking at the current electoral register we have ten areas IC1 through to IG3.
Due to housing development over the years there is a huge difference between IE1 with under 600 electors and ID1 with over 2,500 electors.
In addition ID1 is planned to have another large addition of new housing.
1. My first proposal is that we need to re-organise IC1 through to IG3 to take account of new housing since they were set up. The number of electors in each of these polling areas needs to be levelled.
Currently the proposal is three stand alone unitary wards and one ward attaching IF1 to the villages of the Wylye Valley. This makes sense for the unitary authority but does not at parish level.
2. It is my second proposal that the three stand alone wards, namely, Warminster West, Warminster East and Warminster Broadway should comprise two town (parish) council wards each electing two members.
In doing this I further propose that there should be a seventh ward which would be be based on IF1 (Copheap) as amended by my proposal (1) above (electing two members).
There is an additional benefit to this. It will remove the anomoly of having councillors elected from outside the parish of Warminster sitting on the town council.
3. This would lead to my third proposal, namely, a 14 member town council.
This is an increase of two over the current 12 member town council but I have long felt that we should have more town councillors. Neighbouring Westbury has 15.
I forsee that with the removal of the six district councillors and the likelihood that the unitary authority will be expecting more from the town council than is currently required of it additional couple of councillors would be a good move.
There are a host of other arguments in favour of two member wards that I know from reading your report you are already aware of.
4. My fourth proposal is that with regard to the names for the seven wards I believe there is a strong case for them to have their roots in the way local people would idenity them.
Warminster Boreham, Warminster Common, Warminster Copheap, Warminster Grovelands, Warminster Portway, Warminster Sambourne and Warminster St. John's.
Thanking you for your attention to this.
Yours sincerely,
Paul Macdonald 

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