Friday, 15 December 2017

Councillors want to keep ward boundaries

MEMBERS of Henley Town Council have voted against proposed changes to ward boundaries.

MEMBERS of Henley Town Council have voted against proposed changes to ward boundaries.

Town clerk Mike Kennedy suggested splitting both the north and south wards into two and calling the new wards Friar, Valley, Trinity and Newtown.

Councillors would be allocated according to the size of electors in a particular ward.

But members of the council’s finance strategy and management committee voted against the plans.

Mr Kennedy said that the current system was confusing. For example, Friday Street, Greys Road and Thames Side were in both the north and south ward.

He said: “I know that when I am sitting in a particular road in a particular ward I can identify myself with a certain councillor but if I am in north ward where the hell is north on a map of Henley?

“If we were to ask the average person in the street I bet you most of them would not know and I bet they also would not know the name of one of the councillors, let alone eight of them.

“I think that smaller wards with smaller groups of councillors generates a greater sense of community, a greater sense of place and identification with the councillor, which means they are more likely to vote at local elections.”

Councillor Kellie Hinton said: “I think that four wards would confuse people even more. If you do your job properly as a councillor and you relate with the public, it does not matter what ward you are in.”

Councillor Jeni Wood said: “I think it is really good to have an objective view but we are quite eccentric here.”

But Councillor Ian Reissmann said: “This is not a radical change and I am convinced by Mike’s argument. I think it is worth going with and it would not be too disruptive.

“It is not the number of wards that is the problem, it is the naming of them. People do not know what is north in Henley.”

Councillor Lorraine Hillier added: “I agree with the town clerk.”

Councillor Will Hamilton said: “I share with Mike the view about driving efficiency and making people more accountable and working closer together but I support the status quo.”

The committee voted in favour of maintaining the status quo by seven votes to two.

MEMBERS of Henley Town Council have voted against proposed changes to ward boundaries.

Town clerk Mike Kennedy suggested splitting both the north and south wards into two and calling the new wards Friar, Valley, Trinity and Newtown.

Councillors would be allocated according to the size of electors in a particular ward.

But members of the council’s finance strategy and management committee voted against the plans.

Mr Kennedy said that the current system was confusing. For example, Friday Street, Greys Road and Thames Side were in both the north and south ward.

He said: “I know that when I am sitting in a particular road in a particular ward I can identify myself with a certain councillor but if I am in north ward where the hell is north on a map of Henley?

“If we were to ask the average person in the street I bet you most of them would not know and I bet they also would not know the name of one of the councillors, let alone eight of them.

“I think that smaller wards with smaller groups of councillors generates a greater sense of community, a greater sense of place and identification with the councillor, which means they are more likely to vote at local elections.”

Councillor Kellie Hinton said: “I think that four wards would confuse people even more. If you do your job properly as a councillor and you relate to the public, it does not matter what ward you are in.”

Councillor Jeni Wood said: “I think it is really good to have an objective view but we are quite eccentric here.”

But Councillor Ian Reissmann said: “This is not a radical change and I am convinced by Mike’s argument. I think it is worth going with and would not be too disruptive.

“It is not the number of wards that is the problem, it is the naming of them. People do not know what is north in Henley.”

Councillor Lorraine Hillier added: “I agree with the town clerk.”

Councillor Will Hamilton said: “I share with Mike the view about driving efficiency and making people more accountable and working closer together but I support the status quo.”

The committee voted in favour of maintaining the status quo by seven votes to two.

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