I attended yesterday’s meeting on Lewisham’s Ward Boundaries and discovered the source of much confusion. The meeting had been called by the Boundaries Commission, and the discontent was caused by the Council’s proposed evidence to the LGBCE, which I review on my wiki.

The council propose to split up Ladywell, Whitefoot and Lewisham Central and the howls of rage from Ladywell Labour can be heard in Harrow. I left the meeting early once the very smooth Chair from the LGCE made it clear that the decisions were theirs i.e. the Commission’s and that the Council was only one submission and that he was taking no responsibility for the Council’s proposals. (Although Chris Best, the Deputy Mayor spoke towards the end of the meeting, and if I’d have been there, I’d have learnt first hand how the Labour Group had sought to consult the Labour Party, or not depending on who you believe.)

One thing I learned, was that I had never realised that the view of the Ladywell Kebab shop from the Ladyywell Tavern is a community icon and that it must be within a local government ward called Ladywell.

Another lesson is that the proposal to split Ladywell Ward up is like the partition of Ireland. (I looked for a picture to illustrate this point and did a google for images using Northern Ireland peace line as the argument; images reminiscent of Berlin come up. I am not impressed with this as an argument unless its defenders think the council is going to wall off a part of the ward and have armed entry points; I think not).

I was deeply underwhelmed with the idea, proposed by an ex-Councillor that numbers of voters in Lewisham Central used in the Council proposals should be purged of all EU citizens, how this helps I can’t imagine, and I think we should be expressing support for our EU citizens. When I say I can’t imagine, I understand very well, the best way of minimizing the change is to reduce the projected population growth and it may be that this is over estimated as the new properties in Lewisham Central, Convoy’s Wharf and the other sites in Evelyn may have a large off-roll population due to them being empty, or occupied by non voters.

I am confirmed in my view that Deptford needs more councillors and it was suggested outside the meeting that while the Council propose to keep exclusively 3 seat wards, the Commission will prioritise the equalising of the power of the vote i.e. keeping the voters/councillor ratio even across the borough and will likely introduce smaller wards to do it i.e. some wards will be served by two councillors.  This in my opinion is not good because wards with less councillors will get less investment, and the amount of case work should be a factor in determining the number of councillors.

The Redistricting Trilemma

I am also confirmed in my mind that it is not possible to have three councillor wards throughout the borough, equal voters/councillor and respect the Parliamentary boundaries. The council proposals only meet one of these goals.

On ward boundaries
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