Council's draft proposals include reducing number of Wilmslow wards

Cheshire East Council has compiled its draft proposals for a new pattern of wards which is being developed for Cheshire East Council.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England., the independent body that draws the ward boundaries, is conducting a consultation on the second stage of the electoral review.

The Council's proposals for future warding arrangements were considered by the Electoral Review Sub-Committee on Wednesday, 31st January, and agreed the following proposals for our local areas:

Alderley Edge
Add the parish of Chorley (forecast to have 380 electors by 2030), giving the ward an electors per seat ratio very close to the Borough average (without Chorley, the ratio's variance would be 10% below average).

Rationale for the proposed boundary

  • The proposal would also reflect interests and identities of local communities, as Chorley does not identify with or have significant ties to Wilmslow (with part of which it is currently warded).
  • Chorley is geographically very close to Alderley Edge (the two were previously warded together) and is well connected to it by road, making its larger neighbour an important centre for many key services and amenities (Alderley Edge has a supermarket, GP practice, pharmacy, library and a large number of retail outlets).
  • The proposal also promotes effective and convenient government by enabling the elected Member to work with two geographically close and linked communities, rather than a more dispersed and less cohesive group of settlements.

The ward would be called Alderley Edge as it is well-established and reflects community identity, as Alderley Edge is the main settlement within the area.

Handforth
Add the parish of Styal and the Fairways estate, from the current Wilmslow Lacey Green Borough ward.
Remove part of the Finney Green area of Wilmslow to the proposed Wilmslow Lacey Green Borough ward and the Colshaw Farm estate and the Summerfields estate to the proposed Wilmslow East Borough ward.

Rationale for the proposed boundary

  • It would extend the Handforth Borough westwards, to include the new Fairways development which was developed to meet Handforth's housing needs and Fairways is very close to and well connected by road to the many shops and other services in the centre of Handforth.
  • There is no road access from Colshaw Farm estate into Handforth and Colshaw Farm residents identify as being part of Wilmslow.
  • Although there is no direct road link from Styal into Handforth through the Fairways estate, there is pedestrian access, and road travel between the two parishes (which have previously been warded together) is relatively quick via the B5166 and A555.
  • The services and amenities in Wilmslow town centre are not particularly close to Styal and the road network and large retail outlets in Handforth (most obviously Handforth Dean Retail Park) make Handforth a convenient location for many of the service needs of Styal residents.
  • The proposed warding would result in an electors per seat ratio that (as of 2030) would be 12% below the Borough average. However, the Borough Council considers that this is justifiable, given that the proposed ward contains the Handforth Garden Village site which provides for 1500 homes therefore it is anticipated that the number of electors in the proposed ward will grow significantly.

The ward would be called Handforth as it is well-established. Handforth is the main settlement within this area, as well as a key centre for services and amenities.

Wilmslow East
Add the Colshaw Farm estate from the current Handforth Borough ward..
Add the current Wilmslow Dean Row Borough ward.
Add Grove Avenue/ Grove Way from the current Wilmslow West & Chorley Borough ward.
Transfer the Fulshaw Park area west of Alderley Road to the proposed Wilmslow West Borough ward.

Rationale for the proposed boundary

  • The current, single-Member Wilmslow East Borough ward is forecast to have a relatively low electors per seat ratio by 2030 (14% below average). The proposed changes would result in a ratio much closer to the Borough average.
  • There is no road access from Colshaw Farm estate into Handforth and Colshaw Farm residents identify as being part of Wilmslow.
  • Adding Grove Avenue/ Grove Waywould largely concentrate the town centre area and its commercial and retail premises within Wilmslow East.
  • The transfer of the Fulshaw Park area west of Alderley Road) to the Wilmslow West Borough ward helps ensure electoral equality (similar ratios) for the East and West wards.

The ward would be called Wilmslow East as it reflects the geographical area of Wilmslow covered by the ward and it is a wellestablished and accepted ward name locally.

Wilmslow Lacey Green
Add part of the Finney Green area of Wilmslow from the current Handforth Borough ward.
Remove the Fairways estate and the parish of Styal

Rationale for the proposed boundary

  • Place all of Finney Green in the same ward

The ward would be called Wilmslow Lacey Green as the name reflects the geographical area of Wilmslow covered by the ward and it is a well established and accepted ward name locally.

Wilmslow West
Add the Fulshaw Park area west of Alderley Road from the current Wilmslow East Borough ward.
Transfer the parish of Chorley to the proposed Alderley Edge Borough ward.
Move Grove Avenue/ Grove Way to the proposed Wilmslow East Borough ward

Rationale for the proposed boundary

  • Chorley does not identify with or have significant ties to Wilmslow and is geographically very close to Alderley Edge
  • Transferring Grove Avenue/ Grove Wa would largely concentrate the town centre area and its commercial and retail premises within Wilmslow East.
  • The transfer of the Fulshaw Park area west of Alderley Road to the Wilmslow West Borough ward helps ensure electoral equality (similar ratios) for the East and West wards. Alderley Road provides a clear boundary between the proposed East and West wards in this location.

These proposals will now be put forward for recommendation to the Corporate Policy Committee on 13th February with a view to these being recommended to Council on 27th February 2024 so the Council can respond as a consultee to the second stage of the electoral review being conducted by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

The electoral review is in two stages. The first stage, now complete, addressed the size of the Council (The Local Government Boundary Commission decided that the number of councillors in Cheshire East should be 82, the same as now). The second stage addresses the warding arrangements: the number of wards, their boundaries and the number of councillors for each ward.

Click here to view all the draft proposals considered by the Electoral Review Sub-Committee on Wednesday, 31st January. However, I understand some amendments were made to the proposals for Macclesfield and Congleton.

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