19 Jul 2009

Goodbye to 'Over Stroud' ward

Thursday night saw Full Council have an Extraordinary Council meeting before their ordinary one - purely because I had put forward to change the ward name from 'Over Stroud' to 'Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe" - many have said to me that 'Over Stroud' is meaningless - the Parish Council's agreed, District Council candidates from the other parties agreed - indeed we came across no one who disagreed - well at last it has gone - a unanimous vote in favour of the change...

Cartoon: in fact as I note below the name settled on is Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe.

...as I said at the meeting when I presented the move to Full Council it seems extraordinary that such an un-extraordinary change needs an extraordinary meeting but there we are...below is more about the change for those interested but I am now officially the ward member for Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe! John Marjoram's comment at Full Council was "No one is over Stroud"!

Anyhow the Council meeting was full of lots of budget stuff and more news re the £1.2m overspend in the Housing Revenue account - Greens did attempt to get the Council to come out against the large incinerator at Javelin Park officially - we got a vague answer saying I question was hypothetical - it is but it is also a very real possibility - we were after confirmation that if a large incinerator was chosen then SDC would not support that move. I'll come back to that again but for now must finish this blog quickly as hungry!

Anyhow after the Council meeting the 6 Green party District councillors all went off for a couple of nights to further develop our vision for Stroud - we had some fun and did lots of work - got back late yesterday...a very good boost to ensure we remain enthusiastic and positive in attempting to make the changes we so urgently need.

Background re Ward name change - roughly what I had to say at Council:

Thank you chair and thank you to Council for making time to discuss this issue. The purpose of this report is to enable the Council to consider the change of the District Council ward name 'Over Stroud' to 'Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe".

New regulations allow the Council to make this change without the necessity of referring the decision to the Boundary Commission - as long as we meet in special session - as we are now - and as long as the proposal is approved by a majority of at least two–thirds of the members voting on the resolution today.

It seems extraordinary that such an un-extraordinary change needs an extraordinary meeting but there we are...

I would like to give some brief background information. Firstly I've yet to come across anybody in favour of keeping the name 'Over Stroud': indeed I have struggled to find anyone who understands which area it relates to. A journalist once thought it meant Bisley or Painswick while even most of those living in the ward have very little idea. So a couple of years ago I spoke to local Parish councillors and some of the previous candidates in District Council elections in the ward and there was unanimous agreement that a change would be an improvement.

A year ago Randwick Parish and Whiteshill and Ruscombe Parish passed formal resolutions to approve a change of the name to any combination of the three villages as they felt that would be a significant improvement. The order of villages was eventually chosen as Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe rather than an alphabetical order, as the Parish is Whiteshill and Ruscombe.

Cainscross Parish also discussed the change. The reason for them being consulted is that part of Lower Randwick - not the village of Randwick itself - was inside their ward. However they also unanimously passed a motion approving the change.

Last year there was unfortunately a delay in processing the ward name change so last month the three Parishes all voted again for the change. The Parishes have had the information regarding the changes on their notice boards and in their minutes following both votes and two Parish newsletters have had articles seeking comments from residents. The info has also been posted on a local blog so I believe the consultation has been sufficient.

Names are important and help communities gain a sense of identity. The name “Over Stoud” is meaningless to the local community – and indeed to anyone else come to that. The suggested name change has gained support from the three Parishes and there have been no objections from the community. I therefore propose that the Council agrees to change the name of “Over Stroud” Ward to “Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe” Ward.

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