Local Governance Review
The Working Group consisting of Cllrs Abbott, Taylor, Brown and Porter, met on 16th February 2022 to discuss the Local Governance Review being carried out by East Suffolk Council. https://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/assets/Elections/Community-Governance-Review/District-CGR-Terms-of-Reference.pdf
Cllr Brown attended the meeting of Woodbridge Town Council (WTC) on the 15th February where the item was discussed and the following message was received from the Town Clerk:
“WTC Councillors agreed there is no desire to re-draw the Parish boundaries to match those altered during the County Councillor review.
Councillors did however agree that we request East Suffolk Council to consider as part of their boundary review the boundary between our parishes which dissects the Melton Hill site. The feeling is that it should be in one parish or the other – there was no agreement that we request it be in Woodbridge, simply that East Suffolk Council consider the matter and make a decision or consult the public as part of this review. The reasoning is that should the land be developed into flats/ offices etc, the parish boundary can clearly not run through the middle of a property – it needs to be around the edge of the site, solely in a single parish. This was news to me at the meeting but everyone agreed it seems to be reasonable request.
The only other suggestion which came up was a potential reduction in our number from 16 – 12, but this was talked down by the majority.”
The Working Group discussed three options on how to consult with residents:
1) do nothing
2) survey the entire Parish with a leaflet drop
3) run a general awareness campaign using social media/posters/e-news/website
In light of WTC’s response it was agreed that option 3 was preferable and the messaging should be along these lines:
East Suffolk Council (ESC) is carrying out a Community Governance Review (CGR). A CGR involves asking the public and other interested parties about the most suitable ways of representing local communities. The outcome of such a review could be changes in parish boundaries or the abolition or renaming of Parishes and/or changes in electoral arrangements eg the numbers of Councillors for each parish. These reviews have to be done periodically by law and such a review may well decide against significant changes.
Melton Parish Council and Woodbridge Town Council feel that the boundaries should remain unchanged and that the number of Councillors should stay as is (15 for Melton). We also agree with WTC that the Melton Hill site (former Council offices) should sit wholly within Woodbridge or Melton and not be split across the two, as happened when Melton Park was developed.
Melton Parish Councillors feel they do a good job in representing the views and needs of Melton to the District and County Councils. We also act wisely and prudently to ensure that the local Community Infrastructure Levy (taxes on housing development in Melton) are spent in Melton for the benefit of Melton people and that our Council Tax Precept is kept at a level commensurate with the services the Parish Council provides.
If you wish to submit a response to the CGR please do so by emailing CGR@eastsuffolk.gov.uk before the 1st April 2022.
This messaging would be distributed in March 2022. As we are not gathering the thoughts and responses of residents MPC’s suggested response to the CGR is as follows:
“Melton is an historic settlement with remnants of Roman and Medieval pottery and evidence of Prehistoric occupation in the area. The Domesday Book (1086) records the village as “Meltuna”.
Melton Parish Council, in agreement with Woodbridge Town Council, feel that the parish boundaries should remain unchanged and that the number of Councillors should stay as is – 15 Councillors. We agree with Woodbridge Town Council that the Melton Hill site (former Council offices) should sit wholly within Woodbridge or Melton and not be split across the two, as happened when Melton Park was developed.
We have a single District Councillor who represents Melton and any significant changes to the boundary would be to the detriment of the Parish and its residents.”
Councillors are asked to:
- Note the contents of this report
- Decide if they agree with the approach for public consultation
- Decide if they agree with the formal response from MPC to the CGR or make any amends
Clerk and Executive Officer to the Council
23rd February 2022