Councillors remain opposed to Bute 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.

Bute’s three councillors have repeated their opposition to plans for a major re-drawing of council ward boundaries in Argyll and Bute.

Robert Macintyre, Isobel Strong and Len Scoullar all told Bute Community Council this week of their concern at the proposal by the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland to lump Bute in with a large swathe of north and west Cowal from the next local authority elections in 2017.

In particular there is fear that people living in Colintraive, Glendaruel, Tighnabruaich, Kilfinan and other small communities in west Cowal will be poorly represented by councillors who will almost certainly come from Bute in view of the island’s population - and concern at the impact on those councillors of having to cover a much wider area than Bute alone.

Cllr Macintyre said: “It’s a proposal that is not going to suit this island, especially its elected members, after the next election.

“It would be very unlikely that a councillor will come from [west] Cowal because of the vast advantage in votes we have.”

Cllr Strong added: “The ratio of councillors to voters in the Western Isles is about one to eight hundred - our ratio here is about one to 2,000.

“The Boundary Commission has said you should not break up natural communities. I think special consideration should be given because Bute is an island - and we’re not that far off the 2,000 ratio as it is.”

Councillor Scoullar said: “We have about six thousand people on Bute. North Cowal has seven or eight hundred. How are they ever going to get anyone elected from their own community?”

Councillors Macintyre and Strong will not be standing in 2017 - decisions which both made before the boundary proposals were announced to the public - though Cllr Scoullar has yet to make his intentions known.