Report number: COU/WS/22/007
(The following local non-pecuniary interests were declared in this item:
1. Councillors Michael Anderson and Andy Drummond as members of Newmarket Town Council.
2. Councillors Tony Brown, Pat Hanlon, Aaron Luccarini, Margaret Marks, Elaine McManus and David Roach members of Haverhill Town Council.
3. Councillors Patrick Chung, Peter Thompson and Cliff Waterman as members of Bury St Edmunds Town Council.
4. Councillor Brian Harvey as ward member for Manor Ward. Councillor Harvey had been in discussions with both Red Lodge and Worlington Parish Councils on this matter.
All members remained in the meeting for consideration of the item and voted.)
Council considered this report, which sought approval for draft recommendations for consultation as part of the interim Community Governance Review (CGR).
On behalf of Councillor Carol Bull, Portfolio Holder for Governance, who was unfortunately unable to attend the meeting, Councillor Sara Mildmay-White, Deputy Leader, drew relevant issues to the attention of Council. She thanked the Community Governance Review Task and Finish Group for their work on the review so far and extended her thanks to members, town and parish councils and other groups that had engaged with the process to date.
Following submissions received as a result of invitations requested as part of stage one of the CGR process, ten issues were presented for consideration, as summarised in section 2.3 of the report. The submissions received were used to prepare draft recommendations for consultation, as contained in Appendix A.
Following consideration by the Community Governance Review Task and Finish Group on 18 January 2022, the draft recommendations were now presented to Council. Subject to approval, consultation would commence between April and June 2022.
Members noted that there was not currently a consensus among stakeholders in relation to some of the issues. However, testing the recommendation during consultation would assist the Council with its decision on final recommendations in September 2022.
In addition, it was noted that there were some draft recommendations that, if adopted, would require a consequential amendment to the district ward to ensure ongoing coterminosity of governance arrangements at parish, district and county level. This would ensure effective and convenient local governance.
A discussion was held on Issue 4, which sought to extend the boundary of Bury St Edmunds parish to include the Lark Grange housing development, which was currently located within Rushbrooke with Rougham parish, as detailed in Appendix A. Lark Grange was located in the district ward of Moreton Hall.
Councillor Peter Thompson, one of the ward members for Moreton Hall, firstly wished to place his thanks on record to officers for their excellent knowledge and support with the CGR process. Councillor Thompson provided background to the submission and urged Council to support the draft recommendation for consultation. Whilst not part of this CGR, he also commented on the appropriateness of Suffolk Business Park falling within Rushbrooke with Rougham parish as he felt this was better placed within Bury St Edmunds parish given its affiliation to the Moreton Hall ward. Councillor Thompson also expressed his support for the draft recommendation emanating from Issue 1, which related to the proposed combining of Bury St Edmunds (Out Westgate) town ward and Bury St Edmunds (Westgate) town ward so that a single town ward of Westgate remained.
Councillor Birgitte Mager, one of the other ward members for Moreton Hall, supported the comments of Councillor Thompson, stating that it was a view of the Moreton Hall Residents’ Association that the Bury St Edmunds parish boundary should be extended to fully align with the Moreton Hall ward district boundary, so that any household or business located within the boundary annotated in orange on the map at Appendix A was in Moreton Hall ward and Bury St Edmunds parish.
Councillor Brian Harvey, ward member for Manor, sought support for the draft recommendation set out in Issue 9.
On the motion of Councillor Mildmay-White, seconded by Councillor David Roach, it was put to the vote, and with the vote being unanimous, it was
1. the draft recommendations, as set out in Appendix A to Report number: COU/WS/22/007, be approved for consultation.
2. The Director for HR, Governance and Regulatory be authorised to prepare the draft recommendations for consultation, in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007.
3. The Community Governance Review Task and Finish Group be authorised to amend draft recommendations and re-consult where necessary.
4. The Chief Executive be asked to write to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBEC) to request their support with any consequential changes to district warding arrangements ahead of the elections in May 2023.