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Hand-drawn Sidlesham signpost with lapwing bird.

Letter to Leader of CDC re Boundary Review

Parish Clerk: Tessa MacIntyre

3 Hollybank Lane
Tel. 01243 43439001243 434390 PO10 7UD

28th March 2016

Cllr A Dignum
Chichester District Council,
East Pallant House
1 East Pallant
PO19 1TY

Dear Mr Dignum,

Electoral review of Chichester District

The Parish Council of Sidlesham remains adamant that a tie up with Selsey is not in the democratic interests of Sidlesham.  You have consulted with parishes and towns on your proposals and both Selsey and Sidlesham agree that your numerical solution is not in the interests of either community.  The Boundary Commission’s consultation document states: “Interests and identities of local communities: This means respecting local ties and setting easily identifiable boundaries. The patterns of community life, represented by transport links, community groups, facilities such as shops, health services and community halls, and shared interests should be taken into account. In many cases parishes can be used as building blocks” and “Effective and convenient local government: This means ensuring that the wards can be represented effectively by their elected councillor(s) – that wards are neither too big nor too small in extent and all parts of the wards are linked together. Wards may have more than one councillor, but not more than three.”

The cultures of the two communities are totally different.  Selsey is urban, maritime, coastal, a tourist, seaside resort, a dormitory town for Chichester, a housing development area, very much a small town with its own preoccupations as befits a town of its size.  Sidlesham is rural, horticultural, a self-sustaining village without development.  The only thing that joins us is the road.

Although the numbers are convenient to the Boundary Commission, they have overlooked the fact that the Selsey/Sidlesham councillor, in the proposed arrangement of a fourth Selsey representative for Sidlesham, belonging to the Selsey ward, that councillor would be unable to retain sufficient independence to represent a much smaller parish whose features are so different from those of Selsey. It is the way of human nature for a grouping to stick together and not represent a minority and totally different paradigm. With the best will in the world, Sidlesham would not get effective democratic representation, and this fatally undermines the value of the exercise.

We have suggested two possible groupings:

A.     Birdham Earnley Sidlesham, all three of which have in common conservation areas and areas of special interest,

B.    Sidlesham Donnington and Apuldram which our District Councillor felt able to support.

And, we have one further last suggestion:

C.    One other possible grouping would be a 2 councillor ward of the rural communities of the area south east of Chichester. (Sidlesham, Donnington, Apuldram, North Mundham, Hunston and Oving).

At least one of these permutations works within the numbers game and would give us the binding, common interests that lead to better representative local government.

If CDC wishes to impose a divide which would not reflect the democratic interests of both communities, Sidlesham and Selsey would have to accept a compromise but a compromise would serve neither party to the best advantage and we hope that you will recommend something which does better than the proposed recommendation which nobody wants.   As a last resort, Selsey’s proposal of a 2 councillor ward linking north Selsey with Sidlesham would probably be the least damaging to Sidlesham.

Yours sincerely,

Tessa MacIntyre
Clerk to Sidlesham Parish Council

Cc:    Cllr J Ridd
Cllr M Cullen
Cllr S Oakley
Cllr G McAra
Cllr S Lloyd-Williams