Cllr to mount boundary change appeal

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A local Councillor has hit out at proposed changes to the boundaries for elections to the UK Westminster Parliament, after plans published last week by the Boundary Commission for Scotland threatened to maintain the division of the ward he represents between two constituencies.

The Times reported last week on the plans, which will see Aberdeenshire’s representation at Westminster reduced from 3 MPs to 2, as part of an overall reduction in the number of Scottish MPs from 59 to 52. Now, Jim Gifford, Conservative Councillor for Mid-Formartine, has confirmed he will be objecting to proposals which would see the northern part of his ward taken in by in Banff and Buchan, with the southern part going into the new Gordon and Deeside seat.

Currently, Mid-Formartine ward is already split between 2 different Westminster seats. However, Councillor Gifford has pointed to the Boundary Commission’s stated desire to take existing ward boundaries into consideration when drawing up the new Westminster constituencies, and has described the outcome of their deliberations as leaving some communities “out on a limb”.

“The proposed boundary between Banff & Buchan and Deeside & Gordon cuts the Mid-Formartine ward for Aberdeenshire Council in half”, said Councillor Gifford. “Balmedie, Potterton, Oldmeldrum and Daviot are all proposed to be in Deeside & Gordon and rest is in Banff & Buchan.

“This will this be very confusing for people living there. Also, the way that the south east corner of the Deeside & Gordon area is drawn, it makes a long thin corridor in order to take in some of these communities. Balmedie, and to some extent Potterton, will be very much “out on a limb” compared to the bulk of the constituency to the west.

“I think this part of the boundary needs to be re-considered in order to maintain the complete council ward boundary within one Westminster seat or another – not both.

“People should be aware of the on-going consultation and have a good look at what is proposed. I’m sure the anomaly that I have spotted won’t be the only thing proposed that doesn’t look quite right.”