Restore pride to the voters
TOWN councillors in Huntingdon should be elected to wards that voters can identify with, instead of the present meaningless arrangements, the town clerk is urging. At present, half the 16 councillors sit for North Ward, with three representing residents
TOWN councillors in Huntingdon should be elected to wards that voters can identify with, instead of the present "meaningless" arrangements, the town clerk is urging.
At present, half the 16 councillors sit for North Ward, with three representing residents of West Ward 2 and five sitting for West Ward 1.
Town clerk Mike Kennedy believes all this should change, with seven new wards made up of identifiable areas of the town, such as Oxmoor, Stukeley Meadows and Hinchingbrooke.
But his proposals, which would also involve a new ward for the 1,200-home Northbridge development west of the A141, between Ermine Street and the A14, involve a significant land-grab from the present Stukeleys parish, which includes the site of that development and Hinchingbrooke Park.
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The plans are an initial response to Huntingdonshire District Council's consultation on ward boundaries, which are reviewed periodically by the Boundary Committee.
Mr Kennedy stressed that the views of town councillors in
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Huntingdon on his proposals had not yet been canvassed. They will be considered by the "recess committee", which discusses urgent business during the council's summer break, tomorrow evening (Thursday).
Mr Kennedy told The Hunts Post: "The present wards mean nothing. I don't associate with compass points, but I do with Stukeley Meadows, Oxmoor, Newtown and Hinchingbrooke.
"Let's be proud of where we live and create communities around the area.
"And let's bring in those parts of the Stukeleys that should be part of the town - Hinchingbrooke Park and Northbridge. I believe the residents of those areas will affiliate themselves with Huntingdon rather than the rural villages of the Stukeleys."
Mr Kennedy also wants to create wards called St Mary's (including St Peter's Road, Spring Common and Mill Common), Newtown (between the town centre and Hartford, Hartford itself, Sapley and, when built, Northbridge.
"The creation of smaller wards with easily identifiable neighbourhoods, smaller in size and represented by fewer councillors, would better reflect local identity, represent a positive step in fulfilling improvements to local democracy and voter turnout and improve engaging with our electors.
"These seven new wards - eight including Northbridge - would help to re-establish natural neighbourhood identity, help promote community action to solve problems and build a vibrant and cohesive community," he added.