Government Boundary Changes Prompt Green Light for Councillor Cutbacks

Campaigners win right to reduce number of councillors in Tameside by two-thirds

As 2010 saw the harshest spending cuts for several generations in the borough, there is one cutback some voters may well be in favour of seeing. In the local press and on the internet, some people have floated the idea of reducing the number of councillors.

From today, their wish was granted. At present, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council has 57 ward councillors, 51 of which Labour, and 6 Conservatives. In the forthcoming local elections, there will be a two-thirds fewer councillors standing. Unbeknown to the campaigners, in spite of getting their wish, is that there will be still be three councillors per ward. How?

Leaked Report Suggests Boundary Changes

Being as it is impossible to reduce the number of councillors per ward in a Metropolitan Borough without a Parliamentary Bill, there will be significant changes to the boundary of Tameside MBC. According to a leaked report, these changes will see a leaner Tameside, comprised only of Audenshaw, Denton and Ashton-under-Lyne. The number of councillors will be reduced to 24, not quite the 19 wished for by its campaigners.

Droylsden will join an expanded Manchester City Council with six ward councillors taking their positions in Albert Square rather than opposite the Outdoor Market in Ashton-under-Lyne.

Hyde, Stalybridge, Dukinfield and Mossley will form part of a new Metropolitan Borough Council with governmental functions ran from Dukinfield Town Hall and Whitehall (Mossley) in the short term. Known as Pennine Moorlands Borough Council, its area will cover the aforementioned Tameside towns and the Saddleworth villages, seceding from Oldham Council.

Longdendale is set to form part of the new Howard Town Borough Council. As part of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s proposed expansion, the new borough would see Glossop, New Mills, Hayfield and Hadfield part of Greater Manchester instead of Derbyshire. It is proposed that The Victoria Hall in Glossop would be the new assembly rooms for Howard Town MBC.

From 2015, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority is set to have twelve Borough Councils, with Pennine Moors and Howard Town its new additions, seceding from Tameside, Oldham and High Peak Borough Councils. Therefore, the future make up of local government in our area could be as follows, based on previous local election results:

Tameside:

  • 24 Labour (four wards, Ashton-under-Lyne; one ward, Audenshaw; three wards, Denton);

Pennine Moorlands:

  • 22 Labour (predominantly from Hyde Werneth to Mossley);
  • 7 Liberal Democrats (all within Saddleworth wards);
  • 7 Conservative (whole Stalybridge South ward, two in Hyde Werneth, two Saddleworth South).

Howard Town:

  • 18 Labour (predominantly around Glossop, Tintwistle and New Mills wards, including Longdendale);
  • 4 Conservative;
  • 2 Independent;
  • 1 Liberal Democrats.

The forthcoming changes are designed to make local government less remote than at present. If you have any comments and objections in the consultation period, feel free to air them by the 01 April 2014, 12 midday.

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Beyond 2015

With the number of councils on the Greater Manchester Combined Authority set to increase to twelve, thanks to the adoption of Glossop and New Mills, it is claimed that the changes would better represent the conurbation’s travel to work area. Though the towns within the new Pennine Moorlands MBC and Longdendale already benefit from the GMCA’s services, the new Howard Town MBC will benefit.

The new Greater Manchester Combined Authority boundaries will cover all the Longdendale Reservoirs, Kinder Scout and the Swizzels Matlow sweet factory.

Tameside MBC:

The new smaller Tameside MBC will honour existing plans to demolish and build a Son of TAC along with the new Camp Street campus of Tameside College. However, plans to merge Denton and Dukinfield swimming pools into one, on a new site may be superseded in favour of an upgraded Denton Baths on Haughton Green, complete with a new Public Library.

Pennine Moorlands MBC:

In the long term, PMMBC hopes to move to new Council Offices in Oakwood Mill in Millbrook, which will also double as a Conference Centre. Functions from Stalybridge Civic Hall will be transferred to Oakwood Mill, with Victoria Market returning to its proper use as a Market Hall. New community centres will be built on the boundary of Dukinfield and Stalybridge and Millbrook.

Plans to expand Saddleworth School by moving to Diggle will be quashed in favour of refurbishing the Uppermill site and expanding Copley Academy. Instead of moving the library to its town hall, it is set to stay in its present Union Street site with the Pennine Moorlands Local Studies Library occupying the basement.

The boundary point at the Great Western Hotel will be marked by a life size bronze statue of John ‘Blind Jack of Knaresborough’ Metcalf as a tribute to his construction of the road to Diggle and Marsden.

By 2020, it is hoped that PMMBC will revive the Stalybridge, Hyde, Mossley and Dukinfield Joint Board and the North Western Road Car Company bus operations.

Howard Town MBC:

The people in Howard Town MBC boundaries have felt let down by the local Tories which have ran down public services in the mainly Labour New Mills and Glossop areas. Top of their list of concerns is the extortionate amount their locality’s schoolchildren pay in bus fares. Therefore, changes would see Glossop, Hadfield, Gamesley and Hayfield schoolchildren fall under Transport for Greater Manchester’s concessionary fares system.

Howard Town MBC proposes the restoration of waste disposal facilities and Glossop County Court. The former would reopen under Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority’s jurisdiction. There will also be a long term goal towards the opening of a railway station in Gamesley, the reopening of the Woodhead line as part of a possible HS3 route from Holyhead to Hull, plus the restoration of the 239 and 397 bus services.

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Your Questions Answered

  1. Why is Tameside MBC cutting back its councillors? In response to popular opinion, its inhabitants have advocated cutting the number of councillors by two-thirds and got what they wanted.
  2. Did Tameside MBC have a say in this proposal? Not at all; campaigners in favour of its reduction wrote to Eric Pickles M.P., the minister for Local Government and within two days of receiving their petition, emailed them with a message saying ‘split up or **** out’ – which in laypersons terms meant ‘Your council is too big and needs splitting’.
  3. That sounds odd, they are only supposed to do that to companies. Why? In an episode not too dissimilar to the splitting of GM Buses in December 1993, it was claimed they were too big and remote. They said they were ‘too Labour’ but the new council will be more of a Labour stronghold than before.
  4. Couldn’t they have had the same population as before and reduce the councillors by two-thirds anyway? They could have done, but this would have meant one person doing the work of three in each ward and a Parliamentary Bill meaning a two year process at great expense. Which would have meant less representation. Instead they chose to reduce the size of their council and allow for some boundary changes.
  5. Is this why Droylsden and Longdendale have moved to Manchester City Council and the new Howard Town Metropolitan Borough Council respectively? Yes.
  6. Dukinfield could be run by Whitehall. What does that mean? Don’t panic: this has nothing to do with the centralisation of local government. The Whitehall refers to the one time Mayall family’s humble abode in Mossley a 343 bus ride away, which is also used by Mossley Town Council.
  7. But surely, these boundary changes would cost more than that present? We know that, but our fellows in the other better known Whitehall don’t know.
  8. Isn’t this all to do with Greater Manchester getting more greedy? Possibly, but Manchester is a growing city. Its economy is second only to London in prestige and status.
  9. Does this mean Glossop, Hayfield, New Mills and Tintwistle are no longer in Derbyshire? They still are, in the same way the Royal Mail still accepts letters with ‘Stalybridge, Cheshire’ or ‘Delph, West Riding of Yorkshire’ on their postal addresses. Constitutionally they will be part of the new Howard Town Borough and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
  10. What about the European Elections? As a consequence, all members of Howard Town MBC will fall under the European Union’s North West England constituency. Everywhere else, unchanged.
  11. When can I comment about the proposals? You can make your comments in writing, or telephone 01 811 8055 during office hours. But be quick, you only have until the 01 April 2014, 12 noon to state your concerns.

S.V., 01 April 2014.

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7 thoughts on “Government Boundary Changes Prompt Green Light for Councillor Cutbacks

Add yours

  1. Excellent. Really, really excellent.

    Only a local government pedant could create such a compelling article.

    I salute you.

    Like

  2. Hi Ben,

    Glad you appreciated the April Fools Day joke and the grammar used in this article. More than anything, I would say that I am either a failed journalist or a budding satirist.

    A fair amount of the references were researched to the nth degree. Chances are you may have twigged that the whole thing was an April Fools’ Day joke when you noticed the telephone number for Multi Coloured Swap Shop!

    Plus, consultation documents tend not to mention local bus routes in Frequently Asked Questions sections or (in the case of their dead tree based publications) boxouts.

    Bye for now,

    Stuart.

    Like

  3. I’ll trump that.
    Read this:

    The City and Metropolitan Area Reduction Act 2010

    The above Act becomes law on 1st April 2014. It was passed into Law by the last UK Government, just before the dissolution of Parliament for the General Election of 2010. The new Law, brings about the abolition of several Cities and Metropolitan Areas within England and Wales in order to bring about greater efficiencies in Local Government and above all to reduce overall Countrywide expenditure.

    It will bring about some larger Super Metropolitan Areas and the enhancement of several Cities, although some Cities will be down graded back to Town status that they previously enjoyed.

    It will also enable the reduction in the number of members of The House of Commons to be achieved, as boundaries will be redrawn as a result of this legislation. Also the number of local representatives on Metropolitan/County Councils will similarly be reduced. Some Metropolitan and City Councils will be abolished completely.

    The Act is split into six parts, covering different areas of England and Wales and how the areas will be reorganized, if at all.

    These are:

    1. North West England
    2. North East England
    3. The Midlands
    4. South East England (excluding London and Greater London)
    5. South West England
    6. Wales

    There follows a synopsis of what the Act brings about, region by region.

    Focusing on the extract for the North West:

    Section 1. North West England

    The main change in North West England will bring about the abolishment of one Metropolitan County and one City.

    With Manchester, Salford and Liverpool, together with the Metropolitan Counties of Greater Manchester and Merseyside being so closely located together and with the excellent communications by road and rail available between the two areas, it has been decided to remove one of the Counties and one City from this region.

    Several matters and statistics were taken into account in arriving at this decision, including crime, air travel, media centers, unemployment, court system, universities and Local Government coverage.

    The combined Cities of Manchester and Salford came out as clear beacons for North West England, when these facts were considered. Resulting from this it has been decided to remove City status from Liverpool, return it to town status and rename it Everton.

    Following on from this, it then became clear that there were great savings to be made by merging Greater Manchester County and Merseyside into one county to be named Great Manchester Metropolitan County. The name Merseyside will cease to exist, as will that of Liverpool.

    As Everton is now merely a town, it can no longer have two cathedrals, both of which will revert to parish church status and the two senior clergy found positions elsewhere.

    Liverpool Airport will be renamed as North West Emergency airport and will be used as its new name suggests. All commercial flights, apart from easyJet routes, which will consolidate with their existing Manchester Routes at Manchester Airport, will be transferred to Blackpool Charlie Cairoli International Airport. This will give that region of Lancashire a much needed boost.

    Liverpool Docks will be known as Manchester Western Docks (North), Birkenhead Docks as Manchester Western Docks (South) and the River Mersey as the River Irwell. That part of the River Mersey flowing through Stockport, will be renamed as part of an enlarged River Tame.

    Of course, we must now deal with the two Premier football clubs in Liverpool.
    As Everton is now the principle name of the town, there is no reason why the football club of that name need any alteration. However, the same cannot be said of Liverpool FC, who shall be renamed Manchester Academicals and will have to change their colours to pink shirts and purple shorts and socks, as only one team in the Premiership will be permitted to have red home shirts. That team will be Manchester United.

    Now turning attention to the matter of Members of Parliament for this now amended region. MPs for the Greater Manchester Area will remain without alteration. As for the new constituency of Far Western Manchester (formerly Merseyside and Liverpool City), there will be one Member of Parliament. The rest of the constituencies will be abolished and the sitting MPs made redundant.

    Similarly, the area of Far Western Manchester shall have one elected representative on Great Manchester Council. The former members of Merseyside County Council and Liverpool City Council are surplus to requirements.

    In line with this “Merseybeat” will now be known as “Manchesterbeat” and Radio Merseyside will be combined into a larger Radio Manchester.

    All other references by name to Liverpool and Merseyside/Mersey for any purpose are to be renamed within one month to names reflecting Manchester or Great Manchester. For this purpose, the use of the name, or derivatives of West Salford will also be allowed, as will the name Irwellside, where problems occur in eradicating the name of Merseyside.

    It will also be illegal to serve portions of “Scouce” in any food establishment. They shall in all cases, be replaced with portions of Betty’s Hotpot. People in the old Merseyside area will now be referred to as Far West Mancs of FWMs for short. Similarly, the language that is uttered by these people will be known as “Completely Repulsive Abysmal Phraseology ”.

    Further advices will be issued in due course as cases for removal of the names Liverpool, Mersey and Merseyside are identified and become necessary.

    Like

    1. Hi Buspilot,

      Shame you were several hours out as that, potentially could have been a good April Fools’ Day post. So long as no irate Liverpudlians have read your post and contemplated doing anything unpleasant to yourself.

      As they used to say at the end of Hill Street Blues

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

      1. Yes, Stuart. I will apologise if the above April Fool article has caused some Liverpudlians offence. It was not meant to.

        Some of them do not see the funny side of anything anti-Liverpool, even if it were meant in jest..So, if you are one of those people, once again apologies.

        Like

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