Hello Warminster Broadway(November 17, 2008)
WARMINSTER is to have 'three and a bit' unitary councillors to replace the eight current county and district councillors from next year following the publication of the final set of proposals for a new unitary authority.
New electoral division and town council wards have been drawn up that have moved away from the traditional town boundary limits.
The current Warminster West and Warminster East Divisions, which had one county and three district councillors each, will see their areas shrunk to allow for the creation of a new ward Warminster Broadway.
Voters in a small part of the town (Copheap and the army quarters) will now help to elect a councillor who will also be responsible for needs of many villagers outside of the town.
All this has been prepared for the first election of the new Wiltshire Council which replaces the county council and West Wiltshire District Council.
The shape of the wards has been dictated by the need to ensure each of the 98 new members represent roughtly the same number of voters when they are elected next June.
"There has for a long time been a need to change things," says former district councillor Paul Macdonald.
"If you are diligent representing half a town the size of Warminster especially after Grovelands estate was built is quite a feat.
"Smaller wards will help with that although it is a shame that albeit a small number of townsfolk may end up being represented by someone from a village where there are different issues."
Voters from Manor Gardens and nearby roads will now join the East Ward which loses Upper and Lower marsh area while the West ward which had become the larger of the two former wards is effectively being split in half by a zigzag line starting south of the Cricket Ground.
"One question that now arises is what happens to the town council elections," said former county councillor Steve Dancey.
"We believe the town council should be elected on the new ward boundaries at the next set of municipal elections next year.
"This would not only be more democratic than allowing the existing town council to sit for an unheard of six years but would resolve a looming problem.
"Following creation of the new town council wards which group of electors will elect a replacement if someone elected on the old wards resigns?
"We have asked the town council about this but they said it is a matter for the new unitary council."
If you think our arrangements have taken a long time to be revealed spare a thought for the situation in Cornwall wehere the matter is deemed to be so complicated that their elections due next June have had to be postponed until the warding arrangements have been resolved.
The new electoral map of the town can be found at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.