Concerns raised as number of Cambs county councillors reduced
PUBLISHED: 08:32 18 February 2016
A county councillor has expressed concerns that boundary changes to electoral divisions in South Cambs will split up a 'natural community of common interests.'
The Local Government Boundary Commission published a report last week saying that Cambridgeshire should be represented by 61 county councillors in the future – that’s eight fewer than there are at the moment.
And under the new set-up, which will come into effect next year, the new boundaries would split the existing Melbourn division.
Shepreth and Foxton would join Fowlmere, Thriplow, Whittlesford, Duxford, Ickleton, Pampisford, Hinxton, Heydon and Great and Little Chishill in a new Duxford division.
And Meldreth and Melbourn would be linked with Whaddon, Kneesworth and Bassingbourn to form a new Melbourn and Bassingbourn division.
This division would include two village college communities, while the other would be left with no college within its boundaries.
The commission states that the new divisions ‘better reflect local community ties’, but Susan van de Ven, who is county councillor for the current Melbourn division, disagrees. She said: “The new boundaries split the current division, resulting in fewer commonalities.
“Schools form natural communities. All in all the opportunity to work for common public service improvements is diluted, and the divisions are substantially bigger than they were – which will not help foster stronger communities where people feel they can make a difference in determining future directions.”
A spokesman for the commission said: “Cambridgeshire County Council put forward a proposal to reduce the number of county councillors from 69 to 63.
“We concluded that a reduction in councillor numbers was justified but that 61 county councillors provided a fairer allocation of councillors for each district in the county relevant to their populations.
“The electoral divisions reflect, as far as possible, community identities and the pattern of divisions can help the council deliver effective local government.”
To see the full report, visit the website www.lgbce.org.uk.