Manor Park neighbours win fight to get ward boundary consultation reopened
- Credit: Archant
A consultation over the redrawing of ward boundaries has been extended following public pressure.
The Local Government Boundary Commission moved the deadline to allow more people to share their views on changes to Newham's electoral arrangements to April 14.
The move follows people in Manor Park calling for the consultation to be reopened after discovering streets in the existing ward would be transferred to others.
A Commission spokesman said: "Our aim in all we do is to be transparent and fair. Some residents in Manor Park told us that they didn't know about the review. When we looked at our process, we found that some groups we intended to tell about the review had not been contacted. We've taken steps to put that right."
Manor Park councillor, Mariam Dawood, said: "It's great that the Commission has extended the consultation and restored trust in this process. Residents have sent an invitation to the Commission so that they can visit, meet people and understand our commitment to saving Manor Park's identity. I'm certain that we can find a solution by working closely together."
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The draft plans to redraw Manor Park's boundaries have been backed by Newham Council, although town hall chiefs objected to creating a Maryland ward.
The proposed new boundary includes shifting First Avenue and Second Avenue into Little Ilford ward and transferring an area from Monega Road to Lincoln Road out of Manor Park.
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The number of councillors would drop from three down to two.
East Ham MP Stephen Timms objected to the proposal, writing to the Commission's chief executive, Jolyon Jackson, on February 11, saying: "The proposed changes would significantly unsettle well established local identities."
Neighbours argue that they use community facilities and are involved in organisations with Manor Park in their names.
Simon Mares, speaking at a meeting of affected residents at Manor Park Library on Saturday, February 29, said: "We're proud of where we live and want to protect it."
Losing the good relationship the neighbours have with officers from the ward's safer neighbourhood team also sparked concerns.
Ghislaine Baron, who has lived in Manor Park since 1984, said: "My heart and soul are in Manor Park. I don't want to live anywhere else."
Resident, Jason Spooner, said: "Our councillors work really hard for us. We don't want to lose that."
To ensure fairness in elections, the number of voters in Newham gets divided by the number of councillors, resulting in voter populations per ward which are more or less the same.
A growing population means Newham's ward boundaries need to be redrawn.
To comment, visit consultation.lgbce.org.uk/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to The Review Officer (Newham), LGBCE, First Floor, Windsor House, 50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL.