Thursday, 2 October 2014

CWaC Town and Parish Council Governance Review

Over the last 3 1/2 years CWaC has been undertaking a Governance Review of the Town and Parish Councils in the Borough.  This review has been checking to see whether parish boundaries and the governance arrangements are and remain appropriate.  Around 2/3rds of the Borough is parished.  There are 166 civil parishes in the parishes part of the Borough and the governance arrangements for 161 of them have been reviewed.  As a consequence of the reviews 122 parishes will see some changes, ranging from abolition to amalgamation through to minor changes to boundaries or parish wards.

The process is set to continue after the May 2015 elections concentrating on the un-parished areas of CWaC.  The old Vale Royal area was fully parished, so the post May 2015 review will affect around half of the old Chester district and large areas of the old Ellesmere Port and Neston district.

CWaC's council meeting in October will see the final decisions made for the last batch of parishes.  The behind-the-scenes administrative work in terms of producing the revised mapping, updating the parish tax base will then start in earnest.

The reviews look set to lead to 58 boundary changes between the various towns and parishes.  The boundary changes will see around 800 properties moving from one parish to another.   Now one of the anomalies is that the CWaC wards have not been reviewed.  This isn't something that CWaC could do.

Many of the CWaC wards are based on parish boundaries.  The responsibility for reviewing CWaC's wards lies with the national Boundary Review Committee for England.  They will only look at the CWaC wards once the Orders reorganising the parishes have been made.  All this means is that we will go into the May 2015 elections with the parish boundaries having been refreshed, but with some CWaC wards no longer aligned to those parish boundaries.  It looks like there will be a small number of people living on or near the parish boundaries that have moved that are also CWaC ward boundaries who will find that they have to go to two different polling stations so as to be able to vote in all the elections being held in May 2015.  The answer for those few who may be affected is either to enjoy the walk between polling stations in May, or to get postal votes.

Incidentally the 5 parishes that have not been reviewed are:
Neston; Winsford; Northwich; Kingsmead and Chester Castle.  The towns of Neston, Winsford and Northwich were reviewed by the English Boundary Committee in 2009-10.  Kingsmead is the newest parish council, created in 2008.  Chester Castle parish is a wonderful historic anomaly - it has 0 residents!