Boundary Commission Proposals for County Councillors

 

The Boundary Commission have made a proposal based on a submission by Windlesham Parish Council and supported by Surrey Heath Borough Council to change the electoral county divisions in Surrey Heath.

Under these proposals Lightwater, Bisley and West End would become one county division; the other division would be Windlesham, Bagshot & Chobham.

The rationale for this change is primarily that Lightwater would be re-united into one electoral division.  At present it is split between two divsions  – ie part comes in with Chobham, West End and Bisley – this is the western side along Red Road; the other, including the centre of Lightwater, goes with Windlesham and Bagshot. Residents in Lightwater have said that they would like to be in one county electoral division again.

The problem is that in seeking to resolve one issue, the Electoral Commission are now proposing to fragment and divide the Chobham community –  by putting a number of  households and electors into West End.  Based on this proposal the affected houses will be in a different county council division from the rest of Chobham:

A brief account of the number of houses affected:
Bagshot Road from Brook Lane –  westwards; 19 properties/33 electors
Clappers Lane                                                                          6 properties/10 electors
Grosvenor Road                                                                  20 properties/36electors
Lovelands Lane                                                                      6 properties/9 electors                                           
Pennypot Lane                                                                      31 properties/56 electors
Scotts Grove Close                                                             23 properties/45 electors
Scotts Grove Road                                                              27 properties/65 electors
This is  a total of                                                                      132 properties/254 electors

These properties would all now be in West End and be part of the county division of West End, Lightwater & Bisley.   

Secondly, the Boundary Commission have proposed a change in the Parish Council representation –   the main Chobham ward voting for eight councillors,  but a new ward, possibly to be called Castle Green Ward  voting for one councillor on Chobham Parish Council.  This could be confusing, but also divisive.

The Boundary Commission say they want to hear from all those interested in the review and they will particularly welcome local views based on evidence.  They have said that they will take consultation very seriously.

If  we want to comment on this, it is important to use the  Boundary Commission’s criteria for views and evidence :

* Equality of representation
* Need to reflect identities of local communities
*Desirability of arriving at boundaries that are easily identifiable
*Desirability of fixing boundaries so as not to break local ties
 

My view is that the proposal to put Lightwater back into one county division is a good one for that community.  Despite my personal efforts, it has never been easy to represent part of Lightwater, except on a casework basis and contact with an excellent Parish Council. But one does wonder why and who (in London!) has thought of drawing a line across the middle of Bagshot Road down  Brook Lane (pictured below) as the suitable “end of Chobham”, thus excluding Strawcock Field, The Old Vicarage, and from Pennypot through to Harlyn House. And again I wonder why this same person has thought to put the whole of Pennypot into West End, as well as Lovelands and Scotts Grove including Tenaker and the roads round there as listed above. Does this matter ??  I think it does. These areas are part of Chobham village, historically and now. I will go further and suggest that Chobham should include more houses along the Bagshot Rd – probably as far as Brook Place and Halebourne and will be asking for residents’ comments.

As a County Councillor I represent about 11,000 electors. But I also represent the communities and the organisations within those communities. So Bisley, Chobham and West End are three distinct communities with their own churches, schools, businesses, community associations, societies, help groups and support networks. Splitting these will be difficult both for the Councillor, whoever that is; it will also eventually be difficult for residents and it will divide them from their original local ties. This would apply to all those village organisations and events – eg the Chobham Carnival, ChobCare or WEBcare, West End or Chobham Ag & Hort.etc.

I am busy talking to as many of you as possible about this.  It is really important that you state your views.  I can and will be stating mine as the present County Councillor – but we need to look forward as well.  The electoral divisions will be in place at the next election in May 2013.

Is this really a recognisable boundary between Chobham and West End? Do you know where it is?!

Is this really a recognisable boundary between Chobham and West End? Do you know where it is?!

 

 

Lastly,  it matters very much indeed if those people who make up the community of Chobham in so many ways, find that they have been pushed out of that community by the Electoral Commission who appear to have forgotten one of their main criteria (community identity) while concentrating on anther priority and criterion – that of electoral equality (numbers of electors).
If you want evidence of how damaging this is to residents,  look at the way Guildford Rd and parts of Scotts Grove Rd are marginalised from the local authority’s concerns.

 Do you have any comments or objections?

 Please write to the Boundary Commission by 10th October 2011 at:

Review Officer, Surrey Review, The Local Boundary Commission for England, Layden House, 76-86 Turnmill Street, London EC1M 5LG.

Or email reviews@lgbce.org.uk
In consultation with the residents, I will be asking to extend Chobham as far as  Brook Place and would also be interested to hear your views. 

Please email me: lsealy@surreycc.gov.uk 

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