Boundary Commission for England

The outcome of the review by the Boundary Commission is a victory for common sense with Pickwick “village” remaining intact and not being divided in two as originally proposed.

“The final boundary review has been published.  It is completely different from what has been proposed before, but they have conceded that Pickwick “village” remains intact, so that is a victory for you/us.”

Cllr Ruth Hopkinson, ward councillor for Pickwick

In February the Pickwick Association noticed that the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s (LGBC) electoral review of Wiltshire Council proposed amending the boundary of the currently singular Corsham Pickwick ward.

“The village was to be divided into two wards with two Councillors, each representing separate parts of the village that would be divided by the new boundary – drawn along the A4 road! The effect would be to dilute the ability of either properly to represent our residents.”

David Taylor, chairman of the Picwick Association

In a formal submission to the Boundary Commission the Association observed that: “the Georgian village of Pickwick straddles the A4 and extends north to the 1751 Chippenham/Bath coach road. We have no difficulty with the northern aspect of the Commission’s proposals. The southern boundary of the village, however, should be incorporated within the same ward as the rest of the village.”

The association learned that while a number of Town Councillors were very strongly opposed to these revised boundaries, Wiltshire Council’s line was that having tried once – unsuccessfully – to get the Commission to change tack it was not prepared to go further.

In July the formal position was that LGBC had entirely ignored our own and (Wiltshire Councillor) Ruth Hopkinson’s objections to the division of Pickwick. Their website merely provided for ‘further limited consultation’ of the boundaries of South and South-East Wiltshire.

The association wrote to Michelle Donelan MP but received no more than an acknowledgement – understandably in the light of much more pressing political business at that time.

The Boundary Commission decision

The Commission formally agreed our proposals in the following terms:
“We received objections to the alignment of a division boundary along the A4, Bath Road from the Pickwick Association, local residents and Corsham Town Council. They argued that the historic Pickwick area stands astride the main road and that properties on both sides should be included in Corsham Pickwick division.

“The Pickwick Association proposed, in detail, a boundary to the south of the main road. Having regard to the character of the historic area, we accept the association’s proposal as part of our final recommendations.”

The outcome

Quiet satisfaction – a bureaucratic nonsense avoided!

“The new map respects our complaint that Pickwick was being split and so reunites the village, but the new boundaries still mean that one councillor gets all the town’s facilities and another just gets residential. Bonkers!”

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