The County You Live, Work And Play
Plans to reduce the amount of councillors in South Lanarkshire have received a frosty reception from the local authority’s chief executive.
Lindsay Freeland has emphasised in his response to the Local Government Boundary Commission For Scotland’s plans that the current number of 67 councillors should not be cut to 64.
The process began last Thursday on a 12-week period of public consultation on the proposals to cut the number of councillors, by having 16 three-member wards and four four-member wards. Wards earmarked for the cut in representatives are Avondale and Stonehouse, Blantyre and East Kilbride Central North.
Following Boundary Commission consultation with the local authority between March 19 and May 19, Mr Freeland branded them “inconsistent” by introducing deprivation as a means of determining councillor numbers, but reverting back to parity as the main consideration in the design of ward boundaries.
In his submission, Mr Freeland stated: “The council is concerned that the proposal will result in changes in elector-to-councillor ratios with a greater adverse impact on communities as a result. The council is further concerned that the way in which ward boundaries have been redrawn will have a negative impact on area-based community planning.
“In particular, the Commission appear to have taken insufficient account of issues around rurality, which will have a disproportionate effect on rural communities.
“The council note that the Commission originally indicated they would use deprivation as an assessment criterion. The Council’s view is that this criterion has not been sufficiently tested to inform a robust outcome and so cannot be relied upon as a credible measure. It is the council’s view that whilst deprivation may lead to increased need or demand for council services, there is little or no empirical evidence to support the position that deprivation leads to increased councillor workload.”
The proposed 16 three-member wards are: Clydesdale North; Clydesdale East; Clydesdale South; Avondale and Stonehouse; East Kilbride South; East Kilbride Central South; East Kilbride Central North; East Kilbride West; East Kilbride East; Rutherglen South; Rutherglen Central and North; Cambuslang West; Cambuslang East; Blantyre; Bothwell and Uddingston; Hamilton North and East. The four four-member wards are: Clydesdale West; Hamilton West and Earnock; Hamilton South; Larkhall.
Public consultation ends on October 22. Plans can be viewed at libraries and South Lanarkshire Q and A offices.