Council ward plans branded ‘too political’

Tory chairman Coun Daniel Dewhurst
Tory chairman Coun Daniel Dewhurst
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Tories have accused Preston’s ruling Labour group of being “unnecessarily political” in the way it wants to shake up the city’s voting boundaries.

Labour pushed through an amendment this week to alter a new ward layout designed by the Local Government Boundary Commission.

The amendment re-drew many of the independent commission’s recommendations and brought howls of protest from the Conservative opposition.

The most controversial change was to combine the more upmarket areas of Cottam and Lea Town with the social housing neighbourhoods of Ingol and Tanterton. Another was to remove the Fulwood Army Barracks from the Garrison Ward which was named after it.

Coun Daniel Dewhurst, Preston Conservative chairman immediately accused Labour of “looking at the map politically.” He said the ruling group had “chosen to make their seats as safe as remotely possible and break up any Conservative and Liberal area, no matter what the cost may be to those communities and with complete disregard for the commission’s criteria.”

Under Labour’s amendment the Barracks will become part of Brookfield. Coun Dewhurst said Labour had “shown complete ignorance towards residents of Fulwood.”

The Post asked a Labour Party spokesman to respond but no statement was received at the time of going to press.

The changes will now go to the LGBC as Preston’s preferred plan. The council has also agreed to a reduction in councillors from 57 to 48 and a continuation of elections for one third of members per year.