Some thoughts on the new boundaries(November 18, 2008)
This letter has been sent to the Electoral Commission following the publication of their latest recommendations.
REF: New arrangements for Wiltshire
I would like to congratulate the commission on the work it has done in conjunction with WCC.
The commission has, by and large, arrived at the correct solution for the Warminster area. The situation was always going to prove a challenge as the town’s electorate was never going to be enough to warrant four stand-alone seats.
The suggestion, made by the Warminster town council, that various rural areas be tacked on to town divisions was at best misguided and at worst could be seen an attempt to secure political advantage for one political party.
The overall aim should be to build wards where there is a community of interest and this has largely been achieved.
My only quibble is that the Manor Gardens estate could be put in west while the Sambourne Gardens/Weymouth Street triangle could go into east.
Similarly the town council’s suggestion of retaining two large wards for the town council would continue the current unacceptable situation and again give big advantages to certain parties.
Quite rightly it was rejected.
My only real area of concern is with regard to names.
Warminster East and West are fine but for the sake of consistency Warminster Broadway should be called Warminster South. The Broadway estate is a small part of the planned division and made up of houses built in the 1960s and 1970s but if the commission really wants to have a name then it should choose one with historic resonance and that should be ‘Warminster Common’ which dates back centuries.
Outside the town the names 'Warminster Without' does not convey the true rural nature of this area -arguably the most truly rural of the county.
The inclusion of Maiden Bradley into this division is not welcomed by some but one thing which does link Maiden Bradley with these other villages is the River Wylye (which rises near Maiden Bradley). The better name for this division would surely be ‘Upper Wylye Valley’.
The ‘Warminster Copheap and Wylye’ division is a misnomer as it doesn’t include the village of Wylye and so is confusing. I would suggest Warminster North and mid Wylye Valley.’
‘Till and Wylye Valley’ should be called ‘Till Valley and Wylye’ or perhaps ‘Wylye and Till Valley’ as it does contain the village of Wylye.
I do hope that you take note of these suggestions as I believe they will lead to less confusion and would be more acceptable – especially to the folk in Maiden Bradley and Warminster South or Warminster Common.