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Residents’ anger at proposal to split Hartlepool estate in three different council wards

Robert Smith chair of the Fens Residents Association
Robert Smith chair of the Fens Residents Association

A residents association has hit out at suggestions to split a Hartlepool housing estate into three different electoral wards.

A consultation is underway in the first stage of review of the town’s ward boundaries by Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

It aims to create wards of roughly equal size and to increase the number of councillors on Hartlepool Borough Council from 33 to 36 with the creation of an additional ward.

But the council’s submission to the Boundary Commission has angered the Fens Residents’ Association as the Fens estate would fall into three different wards; a new Rural ward, a newly created Park ward and partly in Rossmere.

Robert Smith, chair of the association, said: “I understand the need to equalise voter numbers per ward, but this is a crazy, nonsensical and unacceptable solution.

“The Fens is a distinct community and it is essential that it is always represented by the same set of three councillors whoever they may be at the time.”

Mr Smith claims the council’s submission is different to what was put forward at a seminar on July 23 when half of the Fens was shown to be in the new Rural ward and the other half in Rossmere.

He feels the council has not done enough to make people aware of the consultation which ends on Monday.

In drawing up its proposed wards the council says its working group took into account roads and railway lines that act as boundaries between communities, used their local knowledge of communities to reflect their identities while also ensuring electoral equality.

A council spokesman said: “We have made our own submission to the independent Local Government Boundary Commission electoral review and would encourage residents and businesses in Hartlepool to do the same.

“The electoral review of Hartlepool Borough Council has been promoted via our website, social media platforms, residents’ magazine and posters in Council buildings.”

A spokesperson for the Local Government Boundary Commission for England said: “The Commission has not yet put any proposals forward for new ward boundaries in Hartlepool.

“We are currently holding a public consultation on where the new boundaries should be drawn.

“The council, local organisations and people can give us their views and we will use that evidence to draw up draft recommendations.

“There are still a few days to have your say in this first consultation.

“Local people will have a chance to comment on our draft proposals in November.

“We won’t finalise the new boundaries until everyone has had their say later in the year.”

For more information go to www.hartlepool.gov.uk/electoral-review or call (01429) 523088.