The Boundary Commission has been reviewing the divisions by which County Councillors are elected and made their decision known on 9th February. They will be used for the elections in 2017.
The Commission had already decided to reduce the number so Cambridge has 12 county councillors instead of 14.
Romsey will be expanded in the south, taking in a sizable part of Coleridge ward but otherwise remains the same. In particular, the northern boundary remains on the railway line (but including Nuttings and Uphall in Romsey.)
This decision affects County Council boundaries only, at the moment, but it is likely that the Commission will want to look at the City Council ward boundaries in the near future. If they do, they will take this decision into account.
During the Boundary Commission’s review, the Labour local party proposed that the northern boundary between Romsey and Abbey should be moved south to make Abbey bigger by adding the Coldhams Lane area from Romsey.
Many of the residents in this area objected and wrote to the Commission to point out that this would carve up a long-standing community and ignore a natural boundary. The Commission’s own guidelines say they like to use “natural boundaries” like open land and railway lines.
Some local Romsey Labour members also objected but were ignored by their colleagues so that votes by Labour Councillors in the City Council Civic Affairs Committee and at the County Council were in favour of the carve-up. That Labour group at the County Council included the new County Councillor, elected in the by-election in which she had said she would fight to keep Romsey intact. Her promise did not last her climb up Castle Hill into the Council Chamber.
Councillor Catherine Smart commented, “I have no doubt that the decision by the Commission is because of the number of people who wrote telling them not to carve up Romsey. It is a welcome example of ”people power” and a reminder that it is worth trying to change something you don’t like. It can sometimes work - especially if there are a lot of you!“