LGBCE | Final recommendations for the new electoral arrangements for Devon County Council

On  26 January 2016, the Local Government Boundary Commission for England [LGBCE] published the final recommendations for future electoral arrangements in Devon County Council.

On 22 March 2016 the Devon (Electoral Changes) Order 2016 was laid in draft in Parliament.

The draft order, if made, would give effect to the final recommendations that were consulted on during the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s review of electoral arrangements in Devon and published on 26 January 2016.

The draft order will be laid in Parliament for a period of 40 sitting days. Parliament can either accept or reject our recommendations. If accepted, the new electoral arrangements will come into force at the next scheduled elections for Devon in 2017.

What this means for Exeter

For many years there has been a co-terminousity between wards for Exeter City Council and divisions for Devon County Council – 2 ECC wards would make up 1 DCC division.

With the LGBCE starting their review of DCC’s division boundaries ahead of their review of ECC’s ward boundaries [which came into force for the local elections in May 2016], there is no longer any relation between the boundaries of City  Council wards and County Council divisions.

Indeed, as pointed out by Exeter Labour Party’s submission during the consultation on the draft recommendations, there are various parts of the City where the local County Councillor will now cover parts of up to four wards on the City Council.

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Maps for the new Divisions and the comments of the LGBCE are listed below:

Alphington  & Cowick
This division lies in the south-west of the city.

alphington-cowick

During the consultation on our draft recommendations we received three submissions regarding our proposed Alphington & St Thomas division. Based on the evidence received we have decided to re-name this division Alphington & Cowick as part of our final recommendations.

We have made one minor change to the boundary between this division and the division to the north. Under our draft recommendations the electors living on Nadder Park Road and Wheatley Close were included in our Redhills & Exwick division. Based on the evidence received we have decided to move these roads into Alphington & Cowick division as part of our final recommendations. We have also made a minor change to the eastern boundary of this division so that it follows the railway line as far as Salmonpool Bridge, presenting a clearer and more identifiable boundary.

Duryard & Pennsylvania
This division comprises the communities of Duryard and Pennsylvania and lies to the north of the city centre.

duryard-pensylvania

We received nine submissions regarding our proposed Duryard & Pennsylvania division during the consultation on our draft recommendations. Based on the evidence received we are content that our proposed Duryard & Pennsylvania division provides the best balance between our statutory criteria and we therefore confirm our draft recommendations for this division as final.

Exwick & St Thomas
This division lies in the north-west of the city and includes the community of Exwick.

exwick-st-thomas

During the consultation on our draft recommendations we received three submissions regarding our proposed Redhills & Exwick division. Based on the evidence received we have decided to re-name this division Exwick & St Thomas as part of our final recommendations.

We have also made one minor change to the boundary between this division and our Alphington & Cowick division to the north. Under our draft recommendations the electors living on Nadder Park Road and Wheatley Close were included in our Redhills & Exwick division. Based on the evidence received we have decided to include these roads into Alphington & Cowick division as part of our final recommendations. Subject to this boundary amendment and the change of name, we confirm our draft recommendations for this area as final.

Heavitree & Whipton Barton
This division lies in the east of Exeter and comprises the communities of Heavitree and Whipton Barton.

heavitree-whipton-barton

During the consultation on our draft recommendations we received two submissions regarding our proposed Heavitree & Whipton Barton division. We did not receive any persuasive evidence to amend our proposals for this area and we therefore confirm our draft recommendations for Heavitree & Whipton Barton as final.

Pinhoe & Mincinglake
Pinhoe & Mincinglake division includes the community of Pinhoe, the Beacon Heath Estate and Mincinglake Valley Park.

pinhoe-mincinglake

We received two submissions that commented on our proposals for this area during the consultation on our draft recommendations. We did not receive any persuasive evidence and we are therefore content to confirm our draft recommendations for Pinhoe & Mincinglake as final.

St David’s & Haven Banks
This division incorporates much of the city centre, including Exeter Cathedral and Exeter St David’s railway station, as well as Haven Banks on the western side of the River Exe.

st-davids-haven-banks

During the consultation on our draft recommendations we received six submissions regarding our proposed St David’s & Haven Banks division. We are proposing one minor amendment to this division. In the south of the division we have extended the boundary further to the south, following the railway line as far as Salmonpool Bridge. We consider that this provides a clearer and more identifiable boundary. We are content that our proposed St David’s & Haven Banks division provides a good balance between our statutory criteria and, subject to this minor amendment, we confirm our draft recommendations as final.

St Sidwells & St James
This division contains the St Sidwells and Newtown areas of the city.

st-sidwells-st-james

We received 10 submissions that commented on our proposals for this area during the consultation on our draft recommendations. We did not receive any well-evidenced alternative proposals for the boundaries of this division; however, six of these submissions did make alternative proposals for the name of the division. Based on the evidence received we have therefore decided to re-name this division St Sidwells & St James as part of our final recommendations.

Wearside & Topsham
This division includes the community of Topsham and the A3015 (Topsham Road) provides a central ‘spine’ that runs through the division.

wearside-topsham

During the consultation on our draft recommendations we received two submissions regarding our proposed Wearside & Topsham division. We did not receive any persuasive alternative proposals for this area and we therefore confirm our draft recommendations for Wearside & Topsham as final.

Wonford & St Loyes.
This division includes the communities of Wonford and St Loyes and lies in the east of the city.

wonford-st-loyes

We received two submissions that commented on our proposals for this area during the consultation on our draft recommendations. We did not receive any persuasive evidence regarding this area and we are therefore content to confirm our draft recommendations for Wonford & St Loyes as final.

LGBCE | Draft recommendations on the new electoral arrangements for Devon County Council

In May 2015, the Local Government Boundary Commission for England [LGBCE] published its draft recommendations on the new electoral arrangements for Devon County Council to be used in the elections in May 2017.

The report notes that DCC currently has 62 councillors and based on the evidence received during previous phases of the review, the LGBCE considers that a decrease in council size by two to 60 members will ensure the Council can discharge its roles and responsibilities effectively.

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The draft recommendations propose that Devon County Council’s 60 councillors should represent 56 single-member divisions and two two-member divisions. None of our proposed 58 divisions would have an electoral variance of greater than 10% from the average for Devon by 2020.

A council size of 60 provides the following allocation between the districts in the county:
– East Devon = 11 councillors
– Exeter = 9 councillors
– Mid Devon = 6 councillors
– North Devon = 8 councillors
– South Hams = 7 councillors
– Teignbridge = 10 councillors
– Torridge = 5 councillors
– West Devon = 4 councillors

The table below details the LGBCE’s draft recommendations for Exeter. It details how the proposed division arrangements reflect the three statutory criteria of:
– Equality of representation
– Reflecting community interests and identities
– Providing for convenient and effective local government

 

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As part of the consultation, I made the following observations:

I write with the following comments on the on the draft recommendations on the new electoral arrangements for Devon County Council published on12 May 2015.

For the past 4 years I have represented the residents of Cowick as their ward councillor on Exeter City Council, and as such have a feeling and a knowledge for local identity of communities West of the Exe.

My first comment is that the almost concurrent (although lagging slighting) electoral review of Exeter is causing confusion.

I – but more importantly, the general public – would have thought that the building blocks for divisions of upper-tier authorities would be the ward boundaries of lower-tier councils and the review of Exeter’s boundaries should have taken place before the Devon electoral review.

The confusion will be exacerbated by the fact that Devon’s divisions within the city will no longer be co-terminous with Exeter’s wards.

As ever, a stumbling block for much of public understanding of proposed changes are the proposed names.

During my 4 years of representing Cowick, most of my residents have never recognised that name and believe they live in St THOMAS or HIGHER St THOMAS.

Your proposals split the current ward/division of St Thomas as split it between the recommended new divisions. This will cause confusion, consternation and anger to those that are NOT in the new division that contains the name St Thomas.

For that reason, I would like to suggest that ALPHINGTON/St THOMAS is renamed ALPHINGTON/COWICK.

The rationale is that Cowick Hill, Cowick Lane, Cowick Road and one side of Cowick Street all lie within this new division.

And with this rationale, I would be happy with EXWICK/REDHILLS. However, others might make a case for this to be renamed EXWICK/St THOMAS.

My next comment relates to a boundary line and these are make with detailed knowledge of the roads in question.

1) Nadder Park Road and Wheatley Close

Looking at the street map on the LGBCE consultation page, there seems to be a close affinity between these 2 streets and the nearby Branscombe Close and High Meadows.

However, the actual layout on the ground means there is NO affinity between the 2 groups.

There is no direct route from one to the other.

To get from Nadder Park Road toBranscombe, the journey involves traveling alog Barley Lane, Barley Farm Road, Charley Avenue and High Meadows.

In addition, the stretch of Barley Lane from Redhills to the junction with Nadder Park Road is a narrow country lane – the 2 main approached to Nadder Park Road are via either Barley Lane from Dunsford Road or Barley Farm Road.

For these reasons, I would propose moving Nadder Park Road and Wheatley Close from your proposed Redhills/Exwick division to the new Alphington/St Thomas one.

I am aware that the 2 reviews are being conducted independently, but it is worth noting that this boundary line is reflected in the new St Thomas ward in the draft recommendations on the new electoral arrangements for Exeter City Council

Yours faithfully

Paul Bull