Report number: COU/WS/22/018
(Councillor Peter Thompson declared that he was the Mayor of Bury St Edmunds Town Council. He remained in the meeting for the consideration of this item and voted.)
Council considered this report, which sought approval for the final recommendations emanating from the interim Community Governance Review (CGR).
Councillor Carol Bull, Portfolio Holder for Governance, drew relevant issues to the attention of Council. She thanked the Community Governance Review Task and Finish Group and the Business Partner (Governance) for their work on the review, and extended her thanks to members, town and parish councils and other groups that had engaged with the process.
On 22 March 2022, Council considered and approved the draft recommendations for consultation and at that meeting it was recognised by members that a general consensus on those recommendations was not always going to be achievable. The consultation on the draft recommendations was held between April and end of June 2022, following which the Task and Finish Group considered each of the 10 issues (summarised in section 2.6 of the report) in detail and the evidence within the consultation responses before making the final recommendations. This included exercising their delegated authority to amend and re-consult on revised recommendations for ‘Issue 1: Bury St Edmunds (Out Westgate) Town Ward and Bury St Edmunds (Westgate) Town Ward’ and ‘Issue 7: Properties on Wickham Street between Wickhambrook and Denston’ to ensure it made its final recommendations based on sufficient evidence provided.
It had also been recommended that delegated authority be given to officers to take the necessary steps to implement the changes so that they took effect from 1 April 2023. This included enabling engagement to take place with the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) to request any necessary changes to district wards and county divisions so that they remained aligned with parish boundaries.
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.
Recognising that a general consensus was not achievable in this case and that opportunities for enabling electoral boundaries to be looked at again as part of future CGRs, Councillor Peter Thompson, one of the ward members for Moreton Hall, spoke moderately in support of the final recommendation for Issue 4 and was relatively satisfied with the proposal.
In response, Councillor Bull informed Council that the feedback from the consultation had been carefully considered and with the evidence presented to the Task and Finish Group, the final recommendation had been made on that basis.
On the motion of Councillor Bull, seconded by Councillor Robert Nobbs, it was put to the vote and with the vote being 51 for the motion, none against and one abstention, it was
1. the recommendations, as set out in Appendices A to J to Report number: COU/WS/22/018, be adopted by the Council as the Final Recommendations for the purposes of the interim Community Governance Review.
2. The Director for HR, Governance and Regulatory be authorised to write to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) to request approval to make changes to the protected arrangements for Bury St Edmunds Town Council and Haverhill Town Council.
3. Subject to approval from the LGBCE where appropriate, the Director for HR, Governance and Regulatory be authorised to prepare the Reorganisation Order to take effect on 1 April 2023.
4. The Director for HR, Governance and Regulatory be authorised to write to the LGBCE to request necessary consequential changes to the district ward boundaries for Moreton Hall ward, Rougham ward, Red Lodge ward and Manor ward and the County Council division boundaries for Newmarket and Red Lodge division and Mildenhall division.