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The Boundary Committee for England is asking the people of Barrow-in-Furness for their views on draft recommendations which would affect ward boundaries and council size in their area. An unusually strong sense of community identity presented by local residents during the Committee's initial consultation has led the Committee to recommend retaining the existing Barrow Island ward, and feedback is wanted on this proposal.
The Committee received representations for a number of different ward boundaries during the initial consultation period. Proposals suggest including Barrow Island in a new Old Barrow ward, along with areas of mainland Barrow-in-Furness. But many Barrow residents opposed the proposals and a suggestion to change the name of Barrow Island to Ramsden ward. They felt that such a move would take away the identity of which we are very proud. A representation from John Hutton, MP for Barrow and Furness, stated that his constituents wished to retain the name Barrow Island in any new ward that is created.
One argument for maintaining the existing Barrow Island boundary was that there is no shared community identity between the existing island ward and the other constituent parts of the proposed Old Barrow ward. Another was the strong community identity of the island, which is strengthened by having its own churches, a renowned nursery school, a community primary school, and a Barrow Island Community Centre that provides youth and community projects and a variety of fundraising initiatives that provide facilities for islanders.
The Boundary Committee for England acknowledges that retaining the existing Barrow Island ward would produce a level of electoral inequality but that this was an exceptional case. Archie Gall, Director of the Boundary Committee for England said, 'Respondents provided us with tangible evidence of community identity, including local amenities and community provisions that support the retention of the existing Barrow Island ward. The Boundary committee has made a number of changes to ward boundaries in Barrow-in-Furness. We are now keen to hear the views both for and against these proposals from local residents.'
The Committee would welcome comments on their draft recommendations, which will be taken into their considerations. Anyone wishing to view the recommendations should visit the Boundary Committee website at www.boundarycommittee.org.uk. Any feedback can be emailed to email@example.com or sent to The Boundary Committee for England, Trevelyan House, Great Peter Street, London SW1P 2HW. Responses need to be received by the 26 February 2007.
Anna McGlynn on 0207 271 0530
Out of office hours 07789 920 414, Fax: 020 7271 0528
Notes to editors:
1. The Boundary Committee is a statutory committee of The Electoral Commission.