New Woodbridge County Boundary defined

The Boundary Commission has published its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for Suffolk County Council.

In short – we  made it! We saved Woodbridge from the cashew-nut attack!

When the  Boundary Commission proposals for Suffolk’s new county council division boundaries came out last year, something looked very wrong.

This is what they proposed for Woodbridge:

The first proposed “new Woodbridge” division, which included Little  Bealings, Hasketon, Bredfield and Ufford  while circling round  Melton – and so excluding houses 500m from Woodbridge Town Centre from being part of Woodbridge

The proposal – which I believe originated with  the county or district Conservative group – would leave Woodbridge Primary school in the adjoining division, while designing a ‘cashew nut’ division by adding the villages from Little Bealings round to Ufford(!) while excluding  all the houses on the far side of Pytches road. The divisional boundary thus would remain where it is now, along the dashed line down the middle of Pytches road. This was frankly ludicrous.

This unusual scheme would mean people could and would be living 500 yards from Woodbridge Town centre,  but be in a county division that was linked with Sudbourne and Bawdsey rather than with Woodbridge!

This was not the new division  proposed by myself or many others in Woodbridge. It did not make local sense. Other divisional boundaries in East Suffolk were equally lacking in local sense. We were told by a local politician that these weird configurations were “just a matter of simple maths.”

Right.

As this seemed to be very inappropriate in terms of simple democracy, I spent a full 24 hours , while ill with Covid,  assisted by Woodbridge Town LibDem Leader Patrick Gillard (also Covid-stricken) working against the deadline, indulging in a spot of simple maths: simply adding up the sums of residents in each parish, dividing them both equally and practically,  and creating and lining new boundaries on a map for the entire East Suffolk district, to create a more effective and democratically appropriate set of proposals.

The boundary we proposed for Woodbridge looked like this:

Redrawn new boundary for Woodbridge as proposed by me and consulted on by the Boundary Commission

A further consultation, responded to by many groups and persons, not least Woodbridge Town Council, confirmed the revised boundaries, which the Boundary Commission have now agreed.

So the new county council division of Woodbridge should look like this:

In other words,  pretty much exactly what we proposed. You can follow the process and see the big map here https://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/eastern/suffolk/suffolk-county-council

This is a win for both democracy and common-sense.

And the moral is, if you think a mistake has been made, it’s worth working  hard to put it right!