Amble Town Council have requested a Governance Review be carried out for the parish. Consideration should be given to increasing the number of Councillors for the parish, the removal of the ward boundaries within the parish and an extension to the northern parish boundary.
The town has grown since the current number of Councillors (9) were determined and Members feel that number is no longer adequate to represent the community of Amble. There are a large number of new houses already built with more planned. A small increase is needed not only to bring about improvements in community engagement and more effective delivery of local services but also to represent more fully the interests and needs of the community as a whole. In recent co-options, we have had an increased numbers of willing volunteers step forward. We would like the number of Councillors increased to 11; however if ward boundaries are retained, we appreciate this may have to be increased to 12 to allow for equal representation.
A Governance review to increase Member numbers was proposed by Cllr Lewis, seconded by Cllr Horn and agreed.
The demography of the town has changed with a mix of privately owned and rented properties, employed- both professional and manual- and non- employed, throughout the town as a whole rather than in more distinct sections as in the town’s past. There are a large number of new houses already built with more planned in the current East and West Wards which has resulted in the three Councillors in these wards representing a much higher number of the electorate than in the Central Ward. Whilst a realignment of the current ward boundaries could address this imbalance, in practice the people in the town tend to either ignore, or be ignorant of, ward boundaries and consult with any of the Councillors. Every member of the electorate deserves to be represented equally and we feel the removal of the current ward boundaries will enhance this, however after receiving NCC advice, if it is found that the removal of wards would reduce the potential funding streams to the town, then realignment of the ward boundaries would be welcomed. A review of the Parish Ward boundaries was proposed by Cllr Lewis, seconded by Cllr Hinson and agreed.
Amble’s northern parish boundary was originally determined by the line of ‘The Gut’ and ‘Guilden Burn’ at a time when there were no housing developments beyond. However Amble has expanded with housing further along the A1068 and up Gloster Hill with the possibility of more housing to come in the latter area. The highways delineation includes these within the Amble boundary as does the Postal system. We want the opportunity to represent the interests and views of everyone who we feel now lives within the town of Amble. These residents use Amble’s facilities- shopping, health services, leisure etc.- and the properties are seen by many in the town, and possibly by some of these residents, as being part of the town yet electorally they are still part of Warkworth Parish. These residents deserve to be integrated with others already in Amble parish, to identify with it, to feel they ‘belong’ and to be involved in discussions about what happens in the future within that community. To add this area to the parish will give a stronger boundary to the town and a truer picture of the town’s identity. Members want to create a strong inclusive community where all feel a positive sense of civic pride and involvement in the growth and development of the town. A review of the Parish Northern Boundary was proposed by Cllr Lewis, seconded by Cllr Dargue and agreed by a majority with 1 abstention.
Should a Governance Review proceed, the community will be fully consulted and have the opportunity to comment on these proposals.