Consultation on changes ends Monday 5th August, reports James Cracknell
Concerns have been expressed about drastic changes to Enfield’s political ward boundaries.
Both local Labour and Conservative councillors have voiced criticism of proposed changes to the borough’s wards, drawn up by the Boundary Commission and currently subject to a public consultation.
A review had recommended redrawing the 21 existing wards and creating five new ones, although with many wards subsequently electing two representatives instead of three the borough would still be represented by 63 councillors in total.
Existing wards including Turkey Street, Chase, Enfield Highway, Southgate Green and Southbury would be renamed and replaced with new wards such as Bullsmoor, Whitewebbs, Ridgeway, Oakwood, Hoe Lane, Kingsmead, Raglan and Arnos Grove. The changes, if approved, would be implemented at the next council election in 2022.
Vicki Pite is a Labour councillor for Chase ward, which would be abolished and split between two new wards called Ridgeway and Whitewebbs. She said: “My view as a local councillor is that the Boundary Commission has done a good and fair job, however, I’m a little puzzled that Enfield North Conservative Association’s view figured so prominently in the final proposals. They have suggested boundaries that fit their electoral interests.
“I’m also disappointed that the Labour Party in Enfield has made no moves to co-ordinate a response that reflects their community interests and identities.”
Enfield Southgate Conservative Association is also opposing the boundary changes. Maria Alexandrou, a Tory councillor for Winchmore Hill ward, which would be shrunk under the plans and only elect two councillors in future, said: “The Boundary Commission wants to cut up the borough wards that tie our communities together.”
Professor Colin Mellors, chair of the Boundary Commission, said: “We are asking local people to tell us if they agree with the proposals or if not, how they can be improved.
“Our review aims to deliver electoral equality for local voters. This means that each councillor represents a similar number of people, so that everyone’s vote in council elections is worth roughly the same, regardless of where you live.
“We also want to ensure that our proposals reflect the interests and identities of local communities across Enfield and that the pattern of wards can help the council deliver effective local government for local people.
“We will consider all the submissions we receive, whoever they are from and whether your evidence applies to the whole council or just a part of it.”