Stamford Bridge parish boundary change ‘common sense’

An East Riding councillor has welcomed plans to move a parish’s boundary after residents were assigned a polling station miles from their homes.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 7:52 am
Cllr Mike Stathers, ward member for Wolds Weighton which covers Skirpenbeck, said the changes set a “precedent” for other East Riding parishes.

Cllr Paul West, ward member for Pocklington Provincial on East Riding Council, said plans for Stamford Bridge to absorb the Godwin Vale housing development were “common sense”.

He added plans came after residents there walked to Stamford Bridge Village Hall to vote May’s Police and Crime Commissioner elections but were told their polling station was in Skirpenbeck, three miles away.

But Cllr Mike Stathers, ward member for Wolds Weighton which covers Skirpenbeck, said the changes set a “precedent” for other East Riding parishes.

He added the “historic” boundaries were “there for a reason” and warned of the impact on Skirpenbeck Parish Council’s finances from lost council tax precept takings.

The comments come as councillors are set to vote on the boundary changes at their next full meeting on Wednesday, July 28.

The plans, drawn up after more than 800 residents petitioned the council in July 2020, would see Stamford Bridge’s boundary move north to the River Derwent opposite the eastern boundary of Godwin Vale.

It would then run from there south until it meets the A166 and then east until it meets the existing Skirpenbeck boundary.

The number of seats on Stamford Bridge Parish Council is also set to rise by one to 10, while proposals to move its boundary south into Catton were dropped.

The changes would take effect from the start of April 2023 if councillors approve them.

Cllr West said “confusion” had already set in among Godwin Vale residents as to which parish they belong to.

The councillor said: “A number of them walked down to Stamford Bridge Village Hall to vote in recent elections.

“But when they got there they were told that because they’re in Skirpenbeck parish they’d have to go to the polling station there which was three miles away so they had to go back and jump in their cars.

“There will be about £3,000 that goes from Skirpenbeck to Stamford Bridge in council tax precepts.

“But Stamford Bridge Parish Council feel it wouldn’t make much of a difference and they’re not doing it for the money, it’s more about community identity.

“The decision they got on the boundaries in the end seemed like the best one, as far as I’m concerned moving them is common sense.”

But Cllr Stathers said that while he and other Wolds Weighton ward members could live with the “compromise” decision, he felt the changes could still pose problems.

The councillor said: “We voiced our opposition to this from day one, we’re concerned it could set a precedent for future boundary changes.

“We have no problem with how residents in Godwin Vale feel, they moved there expecting to be in Stamford Bridge and we accept that.

“The physical community of Stamford Bridge has expanded in that direction towards Skirpenbeck over the years.

“But at the same time it’s up to us as councillors to protect our historic boundaries, they’re there for a reason.

“There will also be quite a heavy impact on Skirpenbeck Parish Council’s finances.

“I became a councillor to protect our rural communities, we need to fight proposals like this.

“But now it’s an understandable but disappointing move that we’ve got to accept.”