IRVINE, 26 April 2005 - At a Special Meeting of North Ayrshire Council at 1.00 p.m.
Drew Duncan, Jane Gorman, Gordon Allison, Thomas Barr, John Bell, Jacqueline Brown, Gordon Clarkson, Ian Clarkson, Margie Currie, Jean Highgate, Alan Hill, Margaret McDougall, Peter McNamara, Elisabethe Marshall, John Moffat, David Munn, Margaret Munn, Alan Munro, David O'Neill, Robert Rae, John Reid, Ian Richardson, Samuel Taylor and Nan Wallace.
I Snodgrass, Chief Executive; T Orr, Corporate Director (Property Services); I Mackay, Assistant Chief Executive (Legal and Protective); A Wattie, Communications Officer, G Lawson, Head of Corporate and Democratic Support and S Bale, Corporate and Democratic Support Officer (Chief Executive's).
Provost Duncan in the Chair.
Apologies for Absence
1. North Ayrshire Council: Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland: Review of Ward Boundaries
Submitted report by the Chief Executive on the initial proposals for North Ayrshire submitted by the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland and on proposed comments on these proposals.
On 2 November 2004, the Council considered a report setting out the steps to be taken by the Commission to review the electoral wards in North Ayrshire, prior to the introduction of proportional representation at the next Local Government Elections. The Council remitted the matter to a Cross-party Working Group who subsequently reported to the Commission that:-
The new Wards should reflect the geography of the communities at the larger level ie North Coast, Garnock Valley, and former Irvine New Town;
Arran seemed best linked to Ardrossan, thus reflecting the ferry link;
As far as practicable, the new Wards should have an equal number of members.
The Commission has now submitted its initial proposals and is seeking the views of the Council on these. In summary, the proposals are for eight Wards in total, six Wards having four members and two Wards having three members. Whilst it would have been possible to have had ten Wards each having three members, it would have been difficult to achieve this without impacting on communities. In broad terms, the Wards proposed are a reasonable fit with the distribution of electors.
There are two particular areas where the fit is problematic.
Ravenspark/Carrick Drive etc, Irvine
The Commission proposes that this part of the current Ward 1 is included in the new Kilwinning Ward 7. Although this enables Kilwinning to be closer to parity, the area is naturally part of the Irvine community. It is suggested that the A78 should form the natural boundary between Irvine and Kilwinning. This would have the effect of moving 518 electors from Ward 7 to Ward 2.
The current Ward 17 Dalry, includes Barrmill, Gateside and parts of Beith. The proposed Kilbirnie and Beith Ward 6 includes the whole of Beith and Gateside in the same Ward. It does however leave Barrmill and the neighbouring small communities attached to Dalry (and now West Kilbride) in Ward 4. Various alternative arrangements have been examined, but in terms of parity, some are likely to be unacceptable to the Commission and others are unlikely to be acceptable to the local communities affected.
The proposed boundaries for the new Wards 1 and 8 at Ardrossan, Saltcoats, and Stevenston follow the current Ward boundaries on the landward side. With the completion of the A78 by-pass, this would provide a more definite boundary which is likely to be sustainable in the longer term.
The Leader of the Council raised the issue of the Ward plans showing a boundary around Irvine Harbour's estuary when previously the boundary was shown along the line of the middle of the river. The officers agreed to raise this with the Boundary Commission.
The Council agreed to submit the following views to the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland:-
(a) The proposals are broadly acceptable to the Council;
(b) The Ravenspark/Carrick Drive area of Irvine (as shown on Map 2) should be transferred from the proposed Ward 7 Kilwinning to Ward 2 Irvine West;
(c) The landward boundaries of Wards 1 Ardrossan and 8 Saltcoats and Stevenston should be the new A78 (T) by-pass; and
(d) The new Wards should be named follows:-
(i) Ardrossan and Arran
(ii) Irvine West
(iii) Irvine East
(iv) Dalry and West Kilbride
(v) North Coast and Cumbraes
(vi) Kilbirnie and Beith
(viii) Saltcoats and Stevenston