The proposed changes, due to be enacted soon are causing a bit of stir and were discussed at the CRA committee last night and previously in January. I’ve tried to get my head round this for the CRA and added a bit of interpretation. It’s here.
One of our councillors is objecting and I’m simply passing this on, and not offering comment, below:
To summarise, Richard Samuel objects to the proposal to bring part of Lambridge into Walcot and feels that Fairfield Park also should remain part of Larkhall/Lambridge. He suggests extending Walcot down towards Lansdown, and further south towards Pulteney Bridge, as far as Cleveland Bridge in the east, and proposes the elimination of Abbey ward – part of the current Abbey would come into Walcot and the other part into Kingsmead. As far as Camden is concerned, that would mean that the coherence of the Camden community would be retained.
I am writing to respond to the initial proposals published by the Commission in as much as they affect the North East area of Bath city.
I am a current councillor for Walcot ward in that area covering Bathwick, Camden and Fairfield Park areas. I submitted an initial response to the commission at the first stage.
I am appalled at the way the new ward boundaries have been described particularly as they fly against the Commission’s own stated objectives for re-warding particularly in terms of community identity. I therefore wish the following points to be taken into consideration by the Commission in framing the final proposals.
- The transfer of the Bathwick estate WA1 polling district to a new Bathwick ward was expected and I do not oppose it as it is clearly a distinct community.
- I welcome the continuation of a new Walcot ward in the proposals but I now wish to comment on the detail of how these have been derived.
- With the loss of WA1 the Commission has added an area of Larkhall bounded by Claremont Rd and Dowding Road to compensate for the loss of electors into Walcot. This is ludicrous. The area in question is at the heart of the Larkhall Village and I doubt any of the residents would consider themselves to be Walcot residents when the local shops and facilities are literally 100m away. This area should be returned into the new Larkhall/Lambridge ward.
- The diminution of Lambridge ward into a smaller Larkhall ward fundamentally misunderstands the interwoven nature of the Fairfield Park/Larkhall community. Fairfield Park is closely connected to Larkhall centre by public transport and has a very clear community identity. Local groups face towards Larkhall where there are very well used community facilities as well as shops and other amenities such as motor repairers etc. The area of Fairfield Park it is proposed to transfer into Walcot should therefore remain in Lambridge ward.
- The Commission is also proposing to divide the very long established Camden community into three wards – Walcot, Kingsmead and Abbey. Again this flies in the face of the commission’s own stated objectives for community identity. A residents association represents the Camden area in the north and a community partnership in the area around the London Road. The commission’s plans will divide these communities.
- There is a simple solution which will deliver the same outcome. It was put forward by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats in the first stage. This is to retain and extend Walcot ward towards the Lansdown Road down through Broad St to Pulteney Bridge and across to Cleveland Bridge. In consequence this part of Abbey ward is merged with Kingsmead ward and disappears. This will provide sufficient electors, retain community identity and work well with established transport links.
- The new proposed wards are represented as follows:-
Lambridge 2 members
Walcot 2 members
Kingsmead/Abbey 2 members
Weston 2 members
Newbridge 2 members
Lansdown 1 member
Total 11 as before but with the major advantage that no communities are split up and still achieving a reduction in councillor numbers.
Richard Samuel, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Walcot Ward.
You can reply to this below or send in an objection to the commission here, and then click on ‘Have your say’. NB by 19/02