The Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland has started a public consultation on proposed changes to electoral wards, one of which is the move of Alvah and Forglen from Banff ward to Troup ward. Full details of the proposed changes and how to make your views known on the proposals can be found at Aberdeenshire changes
There are public displays of the proposed changes at Town House, Low Street, Banff AB45 1AU and Service Point, Towie House, Manse Road, Turriff AB53 4AY
The enabling legislation is clear that the Commission must base its design of wards on electoral parity, qualified by consideration of easily identifiable boundaries, local ties and special geographical considerations. Full details of the background to the changes and rationale for any departure from them can be found in the guidance booklet
Historically the Alvah and Forglen area has always been part of Banff and there are very strong arguments for it to remain in Banff ward. The River Deveron separates it from Troup ward with the only crossings of the river being at Banff to the north and Turriff to the south and this thus forms an easily identifiable boundary plus also imposes geographical considerations and transport constraints. Given the lack of public transport in most of the area moving it further away from it’s natural and historical centre would only be counter productive and could lead to problems for residents.
Local Banff councillor Michael Roy has expressed concerns about moving the Alvah and Forglen area. He has stated: The present Banff ward is delineated by the river Deveron. This is a natural boundary and has acted as such for generations. To remove that natural boundary will create confusion.
The proposed change to the Banff and Troup wards would mean that the new proposals will create an appendage to the Troup ward which will leave it isolated from the main area of the ward.
The roads must pass through Banff, as the next crossing of the Deveron is at Turriff, thus creating administrator and communication difficulties.
Banff has been the administrator centre of the proposed relocated area for centuries, so there are significant cultural and commercial ties which will be broken if the current proposals are implemented.
It will therefore, make it more difficult for the population in the area of the proposed change to identify their council representative.
At the meeting on 29th September Alvah and Forglen Community Council voted unanimously for remaining in Banff ward and against joining Troup ward.
The public consultation closes on Thursday, October 22 and the Community Council urges all residents to make their views known to the Boundary Commission either in favour or against the proposed changes by this date.
You can see details (including interactive maps) and then comment by clicking on the Have Your say link at the top of the Boundary Commission online portal or go directly to comment at the online portal comment submission page, via email to email@example.com, or via post to Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland, Thistle House, 91 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh, EH12 5HD