HUNTINGDON S Town Clerk put forward an excellent proposal to re-organise the wards used for electing our town council, increasing the number of wards while reducing the size of the wards. The last town council election in 2003 used only three wards, with
HUNTINGDON'S Town Clerk put forward an excellent proposal to re-organise the wards used for electing our town council, increasing the number of wards while reducing the size of the wards.
The last town council election in 2003 used only three wards, with eight councillors elected from one ward alone. This arrangement leads to slate voting, whereby whichever party has the largest share of the vote tends to win all the seats.
It resulted in our current 15-1 Tory run council, even though the Tories won only around half the vote.
To quote the town clerk: "The existing electoral arrangements ... seem to me wholly inappropriate because they fail to take account of community identity".
Instead, the town clerk recommended using each of the current polling districts/stations as separate wards, so that the 16 councillors would be elected in groups of one, two or three.
This would result in a far more balanced and, therefore, representative and better functioning, council body but also having town/parish councillors who are very local to their constituents.
As the town clerk stated: "The creation of smaller wards ... represented by fewer councillors would better reflect local identity ... and improve voter turnout". Independent candidates would once again have a good chance of getting elected.
Disturbingly, the town council has rejected these proposals and so next year's election will be contested on the existing arrangements.
Presumably, the Tories not only oppose greater democracy and ignore the good advice of the town clerk but also are afraid of losing many seats.
DAVID PRIESTMAN, Lib Dem District Councillor, Huntingdon East