Chiswick Councillors In Battle To Hold Onto Nine Council Seats
Labour proposes reduction due to 'population explosion' in Brentford
A battle over how many council seats there will be in Chiswick has broken out between Labour and the Conservatives prompted by the Boundary Commission's review of ward boundaries, the first in twenty years.
Hounslow Council proposes splitting up the current Brentford ward and dividing it into a new Brentford East and Brentford West ward with five councillors. This is due to a predicted population increase of over 45% due to new housing developments which the Council says means the area needs greater local representation.
However, this would be at the expense of Chiswick, where a decline in population is predicted in some of the local ward. Instead, the Council proposes redrawing the ward boundaries so that Homefields in Chiswick would be represented by two and not three councillors.
This week's Borough Council meeting (12 March) will vote on the the Council's submission to the Boundary Commission. Chiswick councillors have come up with their own proposals to redraw boundaries and keep nine seats in W4.
The Boundary Commission's public consultation on ward boundaries ends on 18 March. It has already been agreed the borough will keep its current level of sixty councillors. Hounslow Council's submission sees the creation of an extra ward, from 20 to 21, with eighteen wards represented by three councillors and three wards represented by two.
In terms of the three Chiswick wards, the Councilís plan transfers an area of land from Homefields (the Dukes Meadows area) to Riverside, while reducing the number of councillors in Homefields ward from three to two. The Riverside ward would be extended south of the Kew Bridge Rd to the Victoria Steps - and the ward would retain three councillors.
For Turnham Green to retain its three councillor quota, it is proposed that a small area is transferred from Riverside, moving the boundary from the Great West Road north of Wellesley Rd and west of the M4. This is because at this point the Great West Road is elevated above the local residential properties and so does not form a tangible natural boundary.
Chiswick is expected to have 27,000 voters in 2024. Under the new rules (based on predicted population figures) Chiswick is entitled to no more than eight councillors - a 5% variance is allowed.
The nine Chiswick councillors have come up with their own plan to rejig the ward boundaries to maintain their current level of representation. The Conservative proposals for Chiswick start from the understanding that the estimated populations of all three Chiswick wards falls significantly below the required average of approximately 10,500.
Leader of the Conservatives in Hounslow Council, Sam Hearn said, "We believe that there are powerful practical reasons for retaining the current arrangement of three councillors for every ward. The population of the existing Brentford Ward is far too large and there is ample scope to transfer some neighbouring streets from Brentford Ward to the Turnham Green and Chiswick Riverside wards.
"Chiswick Homefields ward can only expand to the west and to achieve this we have proposed transferring some neighbouring streets to this ward from both Turnham Green Ward and Chiswick Riverside Ward. Following this logic Turnham Green and Chiswick Riverside wards must in their turn expand to the west if they are meet the requirement of having approximately 10,500 residents.
"Turnham Green Ward should, we believe, incorporate roads surrounding Gunnersbury Park that are adjacent to that wardís current boundary. Finally, we propose that Chiswick Riverside should include the new housing developments to be built on Capital Interchange Way that adjoins that wardís western boundary. The Capital Interchange Way enclave is cut of from the rest of the ward that it is currently in by railway lines, and the new residents (when they arrive) will have no tradition of identifying with the old Brentford Ward.
He added, "At this stage we cannot comment publicly on Labourís draft proposals. There are many ways that the boundaries can be adjusted and we accept that no proposal will please everyone. The ultimate decision will lie with Boundary Commission and Parliament. None of the boundary changes will come into effect until the local election due to be held in May 2022."
The combined projected electorate for 2024 of Chiswick Homefields, Chiswick Riverside and Turnham Green wards will be entitled to 7.25 Councillors according the formula used by the Local Government Boundary Commission (LGBC), meaning an almost certain reduction from the current nine Councillors across Chiswick as a whole.
The Boundary Commission says, "New wards should leave each councillor representing roughly the same number of voters as other councillors elsewhere in the authority. New wards should Ė as far as possible Ė reflect community interests and identities, and boundaries should be identifiable.
"Consider transport links, community groups and facilities, natural or physical boundaries, parishes and shared interests. New wards should promote effective and convenient local government. Consider the number of councillors for, the geographic size of, and the links between parts of the ward."
The Commission's consultation portal allows visitors to interact with online maps of the current electoral wards, draw their own boundaries and feed views into the consultation process directly before the 18 March deadline.
There will be another consultation on a draft recommendations starting on 4 June, with the publication of final recommendations on 29 October. The proposals will not come into effect until after the next local government elections in 2022.
You can make a submission to the Hounslow electoral review: through the commissionís consultation area, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or writing to the following address: The Review Officer (Hounslow), Local Government Boundary Commission for England, 1st Floor, Windsor House, 50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL.
March 9, 2019