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Community Governance Review: Second Stage Consultation Buntingford

East Herts Council has published draft recommendations for changes to the parish boundary between Buntingford and Cottered, to take effect from May 2019. We need to know your views before a final decision is made

Have your say on proposed changes to the Parish boundary between Buntingford and Cottered using our online form  that can be found on this page.

What changes are being proposed?

The council's draft recommendations are that:-

  • The area between the A10 bypass and Ermine Street to the north of Park Farm Industrial Estate, including Parkside and the new housing development marketed as The Maples, which is currently in Cottered Parish, should be incorporated within the Buntingford Town Council area; and

  • The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) should be asked to change the relevant District Council Ward boundaries to align with the revised parish boundaries above.

A plan showing the proposed new parish boundary can be viewed in the maps section below.

Why is the review being undertaken at this time?

The changes are being proposed as part of a Community Governance Review of Buntingford Town Council. This is a legal process which can result in changes to town and parish areas or electoral arrangements to represent local communities.

East Herts Council agreed to conduct the review following a request from Buntingford Town Council. The town council had proposed that two areas in neighbouring parishes should be transferred to the town council. These were (i) the area north of Park Farm Industrial Estate, currently in Cottered Parish, and (ii) the area occupied by Buntingford Business Park, currently in Aspenden Parish.

The criteria for making recommendations

In carrying out this review, the council must consult local electors and other interested parties. Statutory guidance sets out the criteria to be used when arriving at recommendations. Community governance arrangements should be:-

  • reflective of the identities and interests of the community in the area; and

  • effective and convenient

    When considering these, councils must take into account the impact on community cohesion; and the size, population and boundaries of a local community or parish. They must also consider the number of electors in the area(s) under review and any change in that number which is likely to occur in the next five years.

    The guidance further states that parish boundaries 'should reflect the "no-man's land" between communities represented by areas of low population or barriers such as rivers, roads or railways.'

Consultation and the reasons for the council's recommendations

A first round of public consultation on the town council's proposal was held between February and April 2018. East Herts Council considered the results on 16 May 2018. A majority of respondents did not support either aspect of the town council's proposals. A full report on the responses may be viewed Buntingford CGR - Report on initial consultation responses [5MB]

In considering whether or not the proposals from Buntingford Town Council should be recommended, the council took into account all relevant information including the responses received to the consultation, the LGBCE's guidance on community governance reviews, geographical data, electorate projections and the recommendations of the Executive which were informed by the comments of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee. 

The council recommended that one of the areas identified by the town council but not the other should be transferred to the town council's area as below. You have until 27 July 2018 to comment on these recommendations:-

Residential development north of Park Farm Industrial Estate - Regarding the boundary between Buntingford and Cottered, the council notes that the area identified by the town council is closer to the built up area of Buntingford town than it is to Cottered village, which is approximately two miles distant and separated by largely undeveloped land. The new boundary proposed (the A10 bypass) meets the criteria in the guidance and once the residential development at the south of the area identified is completed, a built-up area will extend more or less continuously from Buntingford town to Parkside in the north of the area. The council recommends that the area between the A10 bypass and Ermine Street to the north of Park Farm Industrial Estate, including Parkside and the new housing development marketed as The Maples, which is currently in Cottered Parish, should be incorporated within the Buntingford Town Council area.

Buntingford Business Park - In relation to the boundary between Buntingford and Aspenden, the council notes that Buntingford Business Park is not a residential area and that it lies to the west of the A10 bypass which is the existing boundary and meets statutory guidance. The council does not feel that compelling evidence has been submitted to support the proposal to incorporate this area into Buntingford and therefore recommends that no change should be made to the parish boundary between Buntingford and Aspenden.

District ward boundaries - Any changes to parish boundaries agreed as part of the Community Governance Review will not automatically change the equivalent boundaries for District Council elections. In order to maintain consistency the council recommends that the LGBCE should be asked to change the relevant District Ward boundaries to align them with the revised parish boundaries above.

Maps

Please see the attached pdf for maps of  the existing and proposed changes.  The area marked 'A' on the map is recommended to be transferred from Cottered Parish Council to Buntingford Town Council. The area marked 'B' is recommended to remain within Aspenden Parish.

Buntingford Consultation Map [952KB]

How would residents be affected by the proposed changes?

Parish and town councils are the most local tier of government in England. They play an important role in empowering their communities, may comment on planning applications and manage or provide services at the local level.

The council's proposals would result in changes to the town/parish boundary between Buntingford and Cottered. Some properties that are currently within Cottered Parish would be transferred to Buntingford. Starting with elections in May 2019, electors in the affected properties would vote for councillors to represent them on Buntingford Town Council. They could also pay a different level of council tax due to differences in the 'precept' levied by each town or parish council. A precept is an amount charged by the town or parish council to provide additional local services. East Herts Council collects this money as part of the council tax and passes it on to the town or parish council.

The table below shows information about Buntingford Town Council and Cottered Parish Council. Information on services delivered is available from the relevant town or parish council.

Council

Electorate Feb 2018

Current number of councillors

Projected electorate Feb 2023 (on current boundaries)

Projected electorate Feb 2023 (on proposed boundaries)

Council Tax Precept 2018/19 (Band D Equivalent)

Buntingford Town

Council

4,579

12

5,982

6,348

£98.55 per annum

Cottered Parish Council

557

6

861

495

£19.69 per annum

WE WANT TO HEAR YOUR VIEWS - tell us what you think of the proposed changes

The Council believes that parishes should reflect distinctive and recognisable communities of interest with their own sense of identity and that electors should be able to identify with the parish in which they live. The views of residents and any submissions providing evidence of community identity or local linkages are therefore important considerations.

Please tell us what you think about the proposed changes by Friday July 27 2018. East Herts Council will consider all submissions received before making a final decision in October 2018.

How to have your say

You can provide your views on the matters in this leaflet or raise any queries by: