Committee Chairs Express Relief As Boundaries Scotland Proposals For Highland Are Rejected
29th September 2021
The Chairs of two Highland Council Area Committees have spoken of their relief that the voices of communities have been heard following the announcement yesterday that the Scottish Parliament's Local Government and Housing and Planning Committee have recommend that the proposals by Boundaries Scotland to change the electoral wards in Highland be rejected.
Chair of the Sutherland Committee, Councillor Richard Gale said: "I am delighted with this result. The proposals from Boundaries Scotland simply didn't make sense. It took no account of the geography of the Highlands and looked simply at numbers.
"Let’s get this into perspective, in some Highland wards an elected member can walk round their ward easily in a day, in North and West Sutherland it would be difficult to drive round in a day. I don’t think Boundaries Scotland paid enough attention to rural areas and the impact these proposals would have on our communities. I would like to thank each and every one of the MSP’s who spoke up against the proposals, it is heartening to know that they have listened and acted on the voices from the communities that they represent."
Under the proposals the number of Councillors representing the Eilean a’ Cheo ward would have been cut from 4 to 3.
Chair of the Skye and Raasay Committee, Councillor John Gordon said: “The People of the Highlands have been represented and listened to and I am very grateful to the committee for rejecting the proposals from Boundaries Scotland. What was being put forward was going to have a huge detrimental impact to the Highlands and would be very unfair. Going forward I hope Boundaries Scotland will work with our communities and ensure fair representation."
Fellow Skye Councillor John Finlayson added: “I am delighted common sense has prevailed and this is positive news for Skye and Raasay and indeed the west coast, at a time when more and more the voice of rural areas needs represented as part of the democratic process. As I have always maintained, how can you take a councillor away from Skye and Raasay when the whole Boundaries Scotland review was underpinned by the Islands Act. While we may not yet get democratic representation that is similar to the Western Isles and the other island authorities, this news is to be welcomed and the decision taken is largely due to the representation made by the council, local members, community councils and individuals across Skye and Raasay and the rest of rural Highland.”