Parish council boundary review likely to be postponed
AMBITIOUS plans to offer thousands of homes the chance to be represented by a parish council could be postponed.
Three parish councils requested a review of their current boundaries with streets on the edges given the opportunity to join.
The plans would see the parishes of Charlton Kings, Leckhampton with Warden Hill and Up Hatherley expand, with the possible creation of a new council in The Reddings.
But despite recommendations from officers to proceed, borough councillors said there were too many things wrong with the idea, which would have seen about 7,000 homes consulted at a cost of just over £3,600.
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Speaking at a meeting of the borough council's overview and scrutiny committee, Councillor Andrew Wall (Battledown, C) said: "It does feel to me that this is a land grab. The decision doesn't sell a balanced argument, it sells the parish councils as wanting something."
Locations earmarked for consultation include areas between Shurdington Road and Leckhampton Road, as well as Naunton Park.
Charlton Kings also asked for the roads off Sandy Lane to be consulted.
Councillor Klara Sudbury (College, LD) said the review should be about "community identity and about fairness". "I think in terms of these things, this hasn't done that because we are asking people who are not currently parished if they want to join, but we are ignoring the people who are parished," she said.
"That's making one massive assumption that the people who are parished already are happy with the existing boundary and with the job of the parish council. I think that's unfair and unjust."
Scrutiny members decided on balance the boundary review should be postponed, but completed before the 2018 parish council elections.
It is hoped that by then the housing development situation in Cheltenham and deciding on who should be represented by which council should be clearer.
The scrutiny committee's recommendation will be presented to a meeting of the full council on December 17.