Lewisham Council has approved controversial proposals for boundary changes which break up the existing Ladywell ward but create a new Ladywell Brockley ward.
The council proposals which will now be sent to the boundary commission have been heavily criticised by residents. Seven councillors – from Ladywell, Evelyn and Perry Vale – abstained on the council vote.
A council working party had originally proposed abolishing the Ladywell ward altogether and splitting it between neighbouring Brockley and Lewisham Central.
But an angry meeting of more than 150 residents on August 27 denounced council efforts to “wipe Ladywell off the map” and called for a rethink.
They launched a Save Ladywell campaign and called on as many residents as possible to write to the boundary commission in support of a Ladywell ward.
Residents also criticised the council’s failure to properly publicise the ward boundary review just weeks after completing its own consultation and review into strengthening local democracy.
The Local Government Boundary Commission which is reviewing the borough’s electoral boundaries has urged local people to submit their views.
It insists residents’ views will be given the same weight as the council’s plans.
In its submission, the council says “Ladywell is a long standing ward with a strong and growing community identity.”
But it stresses that “significant growth in neighbouring wards to the North and East of the area has meant we have had to reconsider the boundaries …”
“Designing this ward has presented challenges …. and required some difficult choices in order to balance community identity and electoral equality criteria.”
Residents have been concerned that any effort to abolish or break up the ward would leave Ladywell, one of the oldest parts of the borough, without its own councillors and any proper representation.
The boundary commission takes three factors into account in its review:
Elected councillors should all have roughly the same numer of voters to represent; wards should reflect community interests and identities; wards should promote effective and convenient local government.
Residents have until September 16 to submit their views to the boundary commission.
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