Residents have launched a campaign to save the Ladywell ward after a Lewisham council working party proposed breaking it up and wiping it off the map as part of a boundary commission review of wards in the borough.
The residents say abolishing the ward would leave Ladywell, one of the oldest parts of the borough, without its own councillors and unable to seek funding allocated to wards by the council.
It would also mean the end of Ladywell Assemblies – where residents have been able to discuss local issues with their councillors
Heather Wakefield, a Ladywell resident, says the move “ignores community identity and interests” and would mean less effective and less democratic local government. Local needs would be overlooked.
She says the Ladywell has a clear identity as an established, thriving community with a station, a long history, schools, pubs, shops and neighbourhood organisations all bearing the name of Ladywell.
Under the council working party the Ladywell ward would be divided up between the Lewisham central ward and Brockley.thr
More than 120 residents attended a public meeting on August 27 to oppose the council working party proposal and discuss alternative plans. They called on as many Ladywell residents as possible to write to ther boundary commission in support of a Ladywell ward. The council’s failure to properly publicise the boundary review just weeks after completing its local democracy review was widely denounced.
At a recent meeting called by the boundary commission to publicise its review of wards, residents criticised the council for failing to alert people to the review and consult on its proposals.
In response to residents’ concerns the commission has extended its deadline for submissions for two weeks to September 16
The boundary commission urged local people to submit their views to the review and insisted residents’ views would be given the same weight as the council plans . The commission stressed it was an independent body.
The commission said it took three legal factors into account in this review:
Elected councillors should all have roughly the same number of voters to represent; Any new ward should “reflect community interests and identities”; New wards should “promote effective and convenient local government”
If you want to know more and find out how to respond, you can go to the boundary commissiom website at: https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk/node/17020
You can also contact your local Ladywell councillors here:
Liz Johnston-Franklin: firstname.lastname@example.org
Carl Handley: email@example.com
Bill Brown: firstname.lastname@example.org
See full story on review below
Have your say! Lewisham’s local government ward boundaries are under review
Have your say! The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is reviewing ward boundaries in Lewisham.
It wants to make sure they are fair to voters and that they reflect community ties. And it wants to hear your views.
The review will decide how many councillors should be elected to each local authority as well as the boundaries and names of council wards.
The review, part of a broad three-year programme of electoral reviews of London Boroughs, aims to make sure each councillor represents roughly the same number of voters.
The commission has said it is minded to recommend that Lewisham council should have 54 councillors in the future. This is no change from the current number of councillors.
But the Commission says the review also aims to ensure that the new council wards reflect, as far as possible, the interests and identities of communities across Lewisham.
The last ward boundary changes were brought in 20 years ago. They resulted in reshaped wards and fewer councillors – 54 instead of 67.
Since then the character of the borough has changed. Its population has been increasing at around 1.8 per cent a year, roughly 5,000 people.
In 2014, the population was about 292,000. This is estimated to rise to over 318,000 by 2021. Central Lewisham has seen significant new housing development and so have Deptford and Catford.
Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said: “We are asking local people and organisations to help us draw up new wards for Lewisham.
“As we develop the recommendations, we will take into account local community identities as well as ensuring electoral equality for voters.
“If you have a view about which communities or neighbourhoods should be part of the same council ward then we want to hear from you. And if you think a road, river or railway makes for a strong boundary between communities in your part of Lewisham then this consultation is for you.
“If you’re interested in the way the council is run, just log on to our website to explore our interactive maps and have your say. Your views will make a difference.”
Cllr Kevin Bonavia, Cabinet Member for Democracy, Refugees and Accountability, said: “Taking part in this ward boundary review is an important way for people to have their say in deciding how our electoral wards currently reflect our diverse communities in Lewisham.”
Local people have until 2 September 2019 to submit their views in this consultation. Further information on the review and interactive maps of the existing wards can be found at consultation.lgbce.org.uk and www.lgbce.org.uk
New wards will come into effect at London’s next local elections in 2022.