The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England [LGBCE] has now completed their electoral review of Exeter City Council and the final recommendations on Exeter’s ward boundaries were published at 10:00 on 29 September 2015.
The proposed changes must be approved by parliament and a draft Order – the legal document which brings into force our recommendations – will be laid before parliament. This draft Order will provide for new electoral arrangements for the council to be implemented at the local elections in 2016.
Throughout the whole process, it was aways anticipated that the Cowick ward would disappear – with Cowick being split up between St Thomas, Alphington and Exwick.
During the public consultation period the LGBCE received two submissions related to the proposed St Thomas ward.
One submission objected to the area around Eton Walk being included in the St Thomas ward, and one submission objected to the Flowerpot Lane area moving out of St Thomas and into the proposed Exwick ward.
The LGBCE did not consider that the evidence provided was persuasive to warrant making any amendments to these wards and are therefore confirming them as part of our final recommendations.
That means the boundary of the new 3-member St Thomas will look like this:
So the majority of the old 2-member ward of Cowick will combine with most of the current 2-member St Thomas ward to form an extended new 3-member ward to be know as St Thomas.
This is quite convenient as many of the the residents do not recognise the name Cowick, preferring to describe the area where they live as St Thomas or Higher St Thomas.
Some of the old Cowick ward will move into Alphington. This includes everything to the left of Dunsford Road heading towards Pocombe Bridge – Orchard Gardens, Litlle John’s Cross Hill – and to the left of Cowick Lane when heading to the Fisrst & Last junction from Alphington Cross- including Broadway, Parkway, Cowick Hill, Greenway and Littleway.
All of Isleworth Road and High Meadowd will in future be part of Exwick, as will Branscombe Close, Welleswood Gardens, Charnley Avenue, Southport Avenue, Rosemary Street, Imperial Street, Prescot Road and Green Lane.
I was asked to give a quote for E&E:
I’m sad to see the demise of Cowick – the ward I’ve spent nearly 5 years representing on Exeter City Council and where I was pleased to be re-elected in May 2015.
The ward is isn’t one amorphous mass of people…the 4,500 people in 2,500 households make up several very different communities.
There’s the previously lost community of Exonia Park.
Ignored by opposition members from the time they were taken within Exeter’s boundaries (in 1988), The residents there faced specific problems due to living on a residential park home site. Many of those issues could only be solved by changing laws governing the way those park sites are run.
My co-cllr Heather Morris and I listened to that community and acted to help them change NATIONAL legislation.
Legislation that now helps them.
For a little while I wondered why the building in Merrivale Road now called Westside was known as Buddle Lane Youth Centre.
But then I discovered that the council housing there was known as the Buddle lane Housing Estate.
They have concerns over many things, but those concerns are total different to what I hear on the doorsteps of the “Counties”.
And the issues there are total removed from those issue I hear about at the top of the very steep steps of Cowick Hill.
Many differing communities all contained within a electoral boundary.
The ward may be disappearing…but the communities of Cowick are still there, along with their causes and concerns.
Those residents are still there – it’s just they will be voting in new wards.
Wards made up of lines on a map.
I hope that by understanding the people and the communities that I represent, – whether currently in Cowick, or where they will end up in May 2016 – I will be able to continue to represent them in the future .
E&E: Where will you live? Map shows final recommendations for Exeter’s boundary changes [On-line 29 September 2015]
My storify 29/09/15 | New ward boundaries for #Exeter