Council ward boundary changes and how they affect you

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A review of voting boundary changes in the Lancaster district have created a new council ward in the city centre.

The Marsh area of the city will become its own electoral ward, alongside other established ones like Bulk, Castle, and John O Gaunt.

The Riverside View housing development on Luneside West, which consists of Redrow and Barratt Homes.

The Riverside View housing development on Luneside West, which consists of Redrow and Barratt Homes.

Marsh will have two councillors and will comprise part of Fairfield, the Marsh Estate, Abraham Heights, and the new developments at Luneside West.

The review also proposed to rename Dukes Ward as the existing Castle Ward.

The Local Government Boundary Commission, an independent non-government body, said it had carried out the electoral review to improve levels of electoral representation, which it said had “become imbalanced since the last review”.

There will be no changes to the overall number of Lancaster City councillors, which still stands at 60.

The Parish councils of Ellel, Heaton-with-Oxcliffe, Warton and Morecambe will also be broken down to reflect increases in population.

One such increase is at Lancaster University, where there will also be a new ward - University and Scotforth rural - to reflect changes in student population.

There will also be signficant changes to ward boundaries in Bolton-le-Sands, Silverdale, Heysham, Harbour and Scotforth East.

Jon Barry, North Lancashire Green Party leader said: “I’m sorry to see Castle Ward being broken up but with all the new development on the quay, it was inevitable.

Jon Barry

Jon Barry

“There is a strong sense of community on the Marsh area and I think it will suit our area to have its own representatives on the City Council.”

But Roger Dennison, leader of the Morecambe Bay Independents (MBIs), was less impressed with the changes.

He said: “The Boundary Commission’s needless and costly changes indicate the bureaucratic confusion which occurs when national political parties vie with each other for party advantage.

“It will cause confusion and resentment amongst voters as traditional boundaries at city, town, and parish levels have been arbitrarily changed.

“In particular the voters in Heysham and Morecambe will fail to understand how, given their joint population is greater than Lancaster, they are losing a council representative to the city.”

In many areas, households will see a shift to a new ward, for example, someone who had previously voted in Poulton, would now find themselves voting in Westgate.

Eileen Blamire, Lancaster City Council and Labour group leader for north Lancashire, who represents John O’ Gaunt Ward, said: “We did make some representations, particularly in Morecambe, and there were some amendments. My ward is not affected, and you do get to know your ward and it’s difficult when you lose part of it. This has probably equalised things a bit. Some words have grown tremendously and if this didn’t happen every so often there would be an imbalance.

“I don’t feel particularly strongly about the changes, when you get large developments it has to happen, and Heysham is a prime example of this.”

Peter Williamson, Conservative party leader on Lancaster City Council, who represents Upper Lune Valley, said: “This is part of a Boundary Commission review, which is independent and can’t be overruled by Parliament.

“The university ward is over 25 per cent larger than the average number of votes a councillor should have, so it needed some re-working.

“Some of the other changes include Bolton-le-Sands and Slyne being put together with two councillors.

“They wanted to put Gressingham into Kellet, but the Parish Council objected, saying the village had more in common with Hornby than Kellet, so they left it in Upper Lune Valley.”

The changes will come into effect prior to the 2015 general election. There will also be local elections next year

The Boundary Commission added: “The aim of the review is to recommend ward boundaries that mean each councillor represents approximately the same number of electors.”

It is expected that some polling stations will change to accommodate the new boundaries. The last changes were made in 1999, and came in before the 2003 general elections.