To consider the responses to the first stage of the public consultation carried out as part of the Community Governance Review and the draft recommendations for the next round of consultation.
Note – Councillor Jonathan Brook declared a non-pecuniary interest in this item of business by virtue of the fact that he was a Member of Kendal Town Council which would potentially be affected by some of the recommendations. He pointed out, however, that the purpose of the report was for Members to note the responses to the Stage 1 of the consultation and to agree the draft recommendations for progression to the second consultation stage which he believed, did not preclude him from being present and taking part in the discussion and voting on the item.
Councillor Jonathan Brook, Deputy Leader and Housing, People and Innovation Portfolio Holder, introduced a report on the responses to the first stage of the public consultation carried out as part of the Community Governance Review having regard to the South Lakeland Community Governance Review Terms of Reference as agreed by Council on 24 July 2018 (Minute C/30 (2018/19) refers).
At its meeting on 24 July 2018, Full Council had agreed to carry out a Community Governance Review within the District. The Terms of Reference of the Review had been agreed and a Community Governance Review Project Team had been established to consider the review and make recommendations to the Council.
The first consultation period had commenced on 10 August 2018 and, as part of this, all of the parish councils within South Lakeland had been invited to contribute.
The Review was being undertaken in accordance with Chapter 3 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (“the Act”) and the Guidance on Community Governance Reviews (March 2010) provided by the Department for Communities and Local Government Boundary Commission for England. The timetable was included within the Terms of Reference (detailed in Appendix 3 to the report) as agreed by Council on 24 July 2018.
As part of Stage 1, as well as key stakeholders (including the Cumbria Association for Local Councils (CALC), Cumbria County Council, Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA)), residents associations, community groups and local people had been asked to make representations in connection with the Review.
The Review had to ensure that the proposed community governance reflected the interests and identities of the community. It also had to make certain that the arrangements were effective and convenient for the electors of that community.
Parish wards had to be contained within district wards and county electoral divisions; that is, parish wards could not cross principal council ward and/or division boundaries.
Further district-wide (stage two) consultation, as detailed in the Terms of Reference, would commence 4 March 2019 ending 31 May 2019. Stage two consultation would consider any submissions made on these draft recommendations, culminating in the provision of final recommendations for approval.
Final recommendations would be considered by Full Council on 23 July 2019, with any reorganisation order issued in August 2019.
Following consideration of the responses received, details of which were provided within the report, draft recommendations had been drawn up and were set out in Appendix 1 to the report. They contained a number of potential changes, including:-
• reducing the number of councillors on Arnside Parish Council from eleven to eight;
• the potential altering of the parish boundary of Kendal Town Council to include an area of proposed development of land north of High Sparrowmire;
• the potential altering of the parish boundary of Kendal Town Council to include properties on Natland Mill Beck Lane and The Beeches, and to include a small area of proposed development on land at Watercrook;
• abolishing the current wards of Dent and Cowgill and having Dent Parish Council as an un-warded parish;
• the creation of a new Parish which amalgamated the parish of Fawcett Forest with the parish of Whitwell and Selside to create the Parish of Selside;
• that the ward of Grange West be abolished and Grange Town Council be made up of two wards: Grange North and Grange South;
• changing the naming of the wards in Kirkby Ireleth Parish Council;
• altering the election cycle and reducing the number of councillors on Lower Allithwaite Parish Council;
• a number of boundary changes to the parish of Natland;
• altering the election cycle of Skelwith Parish Council to ensure that the elections were held on the same day as South Lakeland district elections for the ward of Ambleside and Grasmere; and
• reducing the number of councillors on Windermere Town Council from twenty to thirteen.
Council was being asked to consider and approve the recommendations for publication and for the second consultation stage, Stage 3 of the review to commence.
Councillor Brook moved the recommendations contained within the report and was seconded by Councillor Philip Dixon.
Councillor Andrew Jarvis raised concern with regard to the draft recommendation to reduce the number of councillors on Windermere Town Council from 20 to 13 due to a history of uncontested elections. He pointed out that there were currently 15 councillors on the Town Council and was of the opinion that a reduction in the number of councillors would be of a disadvantage to the people of the Town, as well as to the balance of membership of the Lake District National Park Authority, and lead to an increase in electoral inequality. Councillor David Williams, who attended meetings of Windermere Town Council, disagreed, believing that the current number of seats could never be filled. Councillor Brook explained that the recommendations were meant to precipitate exactly this type of conversation and that all representations would be taken into consideration in the second stage of the review prior to any decisions being made.
Councillor Dixon, having seconded the motion, commended the recommendations and expressed the District Council’s gratitude for the work carried out by town and parish councillors.
RESOLVED – That
(1) the consultation responses received to the first Stage 1 of the consultation be noted; and
(2) the draft recommendations as set out in Appendix 1 to the report be approved for progression to the second consultation stage.
Note – In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, Part 4, Rule 8 (Rules of Procedure), a motion to continue the meeting past 9.30 p.m., moved by Councillor Jonathan Brook and seconded by Councillor Kevin Lancaster, was carried.