Residents urged to take part in parish boundaries consultation
RESIDENTS only have a few weeks left to take part in a consultation for a wide-ranging review that could see parish boundaries redrawn and councils created, abolished or merged.
The community governance review, which is required by law every 10 to 15 years, aims to ensure that each parish council or meeting is reflective of the identities and interests of the community, and is effective and convenient.
Parish councils, which must have at least five members, are funded by imposing an extra council tax levy on parishioners, and their responsibilities include allotments and commenting on planning applications.
Swindon Council is holding a consultation until September 10 in which residents will be able to suggest ideas, supported with reasons, for what they would like to see changed or kept the same in relation to the borough’s parished and non-parished areas.
Sally Sprason, electoral services manager, said: “We have received some comments so far from members of the public, we’re waiting for the parishes to provide us with any information they might like us to see.
“But if there’s anyone else out there that wants to change where they live in terms of the parishes and parish boundaries, then they need to put something down and submit it to us. That’s the message: that this deadline is quickly approaching so if anyone want to have their say as regards to where they live, they need to so before September 10.”
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In the Swindon borough, there is one town council – Highworth – 13 parish councils, and one parish meeting. The review also allows parish ward boundaries to be redrawn, wards to be increased or decreased, for non-warded councils to become warded, and vice versa. Parishes may be created as a result of the geography of the area, the make-up of the existing community, or sense of identity.
Ms Sprason said people needed to provide a rationale for their proposals as well as details of exactly which streets and homes would be affected, possibly including maps or even the results of a survey of the households.
She said she understood that no one had yet submitted proposals to abolish or create a new parishs, but these might come just before the consultation closes as they would take more time to work up.
Couns Dale Heenan and Coun Richard Hurley (both Con, Covingham and Dorcan), have delivered letters to about 3,000 homes Coleview and Nythe , urging them to break away from Stratton St Margaret parish Council and establish their own parish council.
Tom Marshall, electoral services officer, said it was important residents made their views knows as they best understood the local communities and they would have to live with the outcome until at least the next review in about 15 years.
After the initial consultation, a cross-party review party will produce a draft, which will go out for further consultation between November and February. The new plan will then be changed and approved in May. For more details, contact the electoral services team on firstname.lastname@example.org