CoSLA backs opposition to council ward changes

The Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland wants to create a single council ward covering Bute and west Cowal from 2017.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland wants to create a single council ward covering Bute and west Cowal from 2017.

Opposition to plans for a major re-drawing of local ward boundaries in Argyll and Bute has won support from the umbrella body for Scotland’s councils.

The president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities says he fully backs opposition to the proposals already voiced by Argyll and Bute Council.

As reported extensively in The Buteman in recent months, the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland wants to cut the number of councillors in Argyll and Bute from 36 to 33.

The Commission also wants to make major changes to ward boundaries in the council area - one of which would see the three Bute councillors also having to represent Colintraive, Glendaruel, Tighnabruaich, Portavadie and most of west Cowal from 2017 onwards.

Its proposals have been almost universally condemned throughout Argyll and Bute, with the council itself joined by politicians from all sides in criticising the likely effect on democracy in the area.

Earlier this year the council told the Commission of its “significant concern at the impact these proposals will have on existing communities”.

In a letter to the Commision’s chairman, COSLA president David O’Neill says: “In our view, for many reasons these proposals will not make sense at community level and this is a fatal flaw in the Boundary Commission’s review.

“The points made by Argyll and Bute in their letter to you reflect all of these concerns in some detail and provide significant evidence of the adverse impact for the Argyll and Bute area and the communities it serves.”

The Commission’s consultation on its boundary proposals closed on October 22, though its final recommendations to Scottish ministers will not be made until after the Scottish Parliament elections in May of next year.