Local Govenment Boundaries Commission Consultation - Have Your Say

Have your say on the Local Government Boundary Commission's second consultation on ward boundaries within the Derbyshire Dales District Council area here. The consultation closes on 26th October 2021.

Middleton Parish Council has submitted the following comments:

"To the members of the Electoral Boundary Commission:

We are very concerned to note that the amended proposals for new boundaries in Derbyshire Dales fail to correct some of the most evident errors in the original proposals and as such refer in particular to the proposal to remove Middleton-by-Wirksworth from the Wirksworth Ward and place it in the Masson Ward along with Cromford, Matlock Bath and Bonsall.

Historically, Wirksworth and Middleton have been linked for centuries, with strong connections through lead mining and then quarrying. Indeed, until fairly recently, a significant number of people from bot settlements spent their working lives in the quarries that will, in the next few years be the location for large scale planned housing developments under the DDDC Local Plan. This will to all intents effectively turn Wirksworth itself and Middleton-by-Wirksworth into one large conurbation.

Politically, for over one hundred years Middleton-by-Wirksworth has been associated with the former Wirksworth Urban District Council.

Unfortunately Middleton no longer has any shops and those residents who do not travel to Derby or Matlock do their shopping in Wirksworth. Furthermore children at Middleton Primary School in due course go on to complete their education at Anthony Gell School in Wirksworth. It is also noted, significantly, that Middleton has no transport links to Bonsall.

Numerous clubs and associations link the people of Wirksworth and Middleton, for example the Cricket Club, the Wrestling Club, the Football club, the National Stone Centre and Steeple Grange Light Railway. Recently the two communities worked collaboratively in order to gain grant funding to erect war memorials in each of the two locations in commemoration of the centenary of the end of WW1.

We would stress that the villages to the south of Wirksworth, which the current proposals suggest should replace Middleton, have very few historic links and in general their populations have closer links to Ashbourne or Duffield. Also when looking at the number of electors in each area, it would appear that keeping Middleton-by-Wirksworth in the Wirksworth Ward instead of replacing it with the southern and western villages and hamlets does give a total electorate within the required range.

As far as Masson is concerned, where total numbers are low, this could be remedied by moving Brassington into their electoral division. Currently, Cromford and Matlock Bath have much in common; moving Brassington would mean that along with Bonsall, this 2 councillor division would have two former lead mining centres alongside the two settlements in the World Heritage corridor."

The Parish Council had previously commented as follows:

The LGBC proposal gives an electorate far too large to make long term sense and too diverse socio-economically and geographically to support convenient and effective local government. In particular:

  1. The +8% variance for the LGBC's proposed ward gives a very large electorate for a Tier 1* settlement. Wirksworth is set to have a significant number of homes built over the next decade.
  2. Kirk Ireton and Hognaston have few obvious links to Wirksworth. Their children do not attend Wirksworth schools, either having their own or travelling to Ashbourne.
  3. The view of the single resident quoted in the report that 'all the parishes around Carsington Water be brought within the same ward' may well have been taken out of context. They were most likely thinking that this would be a ward separate from Wirksworth – an idea defeated by the sparse electorate in the area. We do not believe that their intention was to group those parishes with Wirksworth.

We therefore sugges that Kirk Ireton be moved into its near neighbour Hulland Ward.

We also suggest that Homesford (cluster of cottages by Soggs Wood) be moved from Wirksworth to Cromford parish, as requested by Cromford PC, by amendment of the Parish boundary.

The proposal will require further adjusting in the future if the housing proposal for Middle Peak Quarry is delivered.

Posted: Tue, 05 Oct 2021 09:02 by John Rowe

Tags: Community, Elections