Hands off our wards, say councillors

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An elected member representing Mid Galloway wants the local authority to give the Boundaries Commission for Scotland a “bloody nose”.

His demands came over the proposal to amalgamate two wards in Wigtownshire and reduce the number of serving councillors from six to four.

If new wards are introduced it could lead to elected members having to attend around 12 community council meetings monthly over a large geographical area.

Members of the Wigtown and District Community Council heard that the Boundaries Commission are currently consulting with the public over changing the wards to meet their required ratio of councillors per head of population. The Scottish Government agency want to link Mid Galloway with Wigtown West and include the parish of Kirkmabreck in the same ward.

Mid Galloway Councillor Alistair Geddes raged: “I hope Dumfries and Galloway Council take this to a judicial review and give them a bloody nose over this. People became disenfranchised with the change to wards that did away with the old areas of Whithorn, Wigtown and Newton Stewart. The present scattergun approach is not a good use of resources as, with three of us, we have to agree who is doing what. When it was one representative for each area everyone knew who to contact.”

Fellow Mid Galloway Councillor Jim McColm added; “We will have disparate communities that have no cohesion with each other.

“These proposals take no account of the wards on the ground as the Boundaries Commission are obsessed with numbers of councillors per head of the population. The council has a legitimate expectation for councillors to attend meetings but we could end up one night in Castle Kennedy and the next at a meeting in Carsluith.”

Convenor Matt Kitson said the community council were “disappointed” with the proposals.

The council have also challenged the methodology used by the commission.

The consultation period ends on October 22.