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Have your say on boundary changes

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Stroud Town Council is objecting to proposed electoral boundary changes that will see a part of the town moved into an extended Gloucestershire County Council division that includes Bisley and Painswick.

Currently the boundaries for the town council and the county council are the same. That means one county councillor represents all of the town and works closely with the town council.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England carried out a review of county council boundaries in the Stroud area so as to better represent areas of new growth in communities.

As part of that, it is proposed that the division for Stroud town is reduced in size, by transferring the whole of Trinity ward into a revised Bisley and Painswick division.

Trinity ward covers the area south of Bisley Road and down to Bowbridge and includes vital town amenities.

The Town Council is objecting to the proposal saying it will impact on the running of town services.

“Many vital public amenities in Trinity ward provide essential services for residents across the whole of town, including the hospitals and health facilities, Stroud cemetery, Trinity church, Trinity Rooms and Stroud Valleys School. Divorcing this area from the rest of town will impact on cohesion of service provision,” says Stroud Mayor Stella Parkes.

“Residents in Trinity ward feel part of Stroud and have no relationship to Bisley and Painswick. There is a huge difference between urban and rural communities and their needs.”

Stroud county councillor David Drew said: “I don’t envy the councillor who ends up with this proposed ward as it will be a challenge to attend all the various parish meetings effectively, or know the schools intimately. It will not make for effective local government.

“This is a result of the government’s obsession will trying just to run representation around numbers rather than locations with a ‘one size fits all approach’.’’

The Town Council says there are huge benefits from current arrangements where town/district/county boundaries are the same.

“It would be administratively inefficient and ineffective to have two county councillors representing the town,” says Councillor Parkes.

“The new Bisley and Painswick division covers seven parish and town council areas (Stroud, Brimscombe and Thrupp, Pitchcombe, Bisley, Painswick, Cranham and Miserden) and three District wards. It is unrealistic to expect the county councillor to engage effectively with all of the parish and district councillors.”

The Commission says it balances consideration of electoral equality with the need to reflect local community identities and interests, and provide for effective and convenient local government.

“Communities are not about numbers. The proposal to take the whole of Trinity ward out of the Stroud GCC Division completely fails to recognise local identifies and interest,” says Councillor Parkes.

The Town Council is urging local residents, businesses and community organisations to object to the proposals which can be viewed online at: https://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/gloucestershire. To object please click on the “Have Your Say” button.
The consultation will close on 11 December 2023.

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