Cannock Chase ward changes proposed

Three wards could be cut from Cannock Chase District as part of plans to reduce the number of councillors on the authority.

Cannock Chase Council Civic Centre
Cannock Chase Council Civic Centre

The Local Government Boundary Commission is proposing to reduce membership on Cannock Chase Council from 41 to 36.

Residents and organisations in the district have been asked for their views as part of a consultation ending on Monday.

The Commission, an independent body, is reviewing the council to make sure each elected member represents a similar number of electors and that ward arrangements help the authority work effectively.

The authority’s current councillors are submitting their own responses to the consultation. A cross-party working group set up to put together a set of proposals put forward their report for consideration by the full council at its latest meeting.

The proposals include reducing the current number of wards from 15 to 12, which would involve the removal of Cannock East, Rawnsley and Hagley. These areas would instead become parts of the remaining wards.

The report said: “Consideration has been given to the split of member numbers and wards across the district and it is proposed that that the three principal areas of Cannock, Hednesford and Rugeley should comprise three wards each. The other three areas are those with their own distinct identities i.e., Norton Canes, Heath Hayes and Wimblebury and Hawks Green.

“Having established this as a principle, given that each of the three principal areas currently have four wards each, it was agreed to remove one of the existing wards from each of these areas as a starting point for reviewing the ward boundaries. Consideration was given to the existing ward boundaries to identify those that remain relevant and reflect the local communities, those where new housing developments have created a shift in identity and to redefine the three principle areas to reflect the loss of a ward in each one.”

Councillor Josh Newbury said: “It is worth saying these aren’t just lines on a map. Residents ask us to represent their communities and this is testament to members’ desire to get this right for our residents.”

While there were agreements on a number of areas no consensus was reached on the internal boundaries for the Rugeley area, the report stated. The inclusion of the Pear Tree estate within the Brereton ward “as it is a former coal mining estate similar to those in Brereton and has alleyways which connect the two communities” was a talking point, as was use of the Western Springs Road as a ward boundary as there are different views on how the local community identifies itself.

The report added: “Issues raised include which ward the new power station development site should sit within. It currently sits within the Brereton ward with the former cooling towers having dominated the skyline.

“However, it was considered by a substantial majority of the group that the geographical boundaries such as a main A road, canal and rail line divide the two areas and it is likely that those living on the new housing development are more likely to connect with the town centre.

“The proposal for the new development is supportive of connecting it with the town centre and includes a planning for a footpath into the town centre, which sits within the current Western Springs Ward. However, concerns were raised by a Brereton ward member.”

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