Representation fight

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Making Arran a single ward within North Ayrshire Council seems on the face of it to make sense.

However, the potential loss of representation on the council is a worry, with the Boundary Commission recommending the island should have just one councillor following the local authority elections in May 2022.

And the fact North Ayrshire Council was quick to agree says little for the democratic process since a public consultation, when the people of Arran can have their say, has yet to be held.

In the days when John Bruce was the only councillor on the Ardrossan and Arran ward to live on Arran, it was easy to let him get on with island business. Now we are in the fortunate position of having two councillors representing the ward living here – Timothy Billings and Ellen McMaster – but that is by coincidence rather than choice.

We believe the island deserves to have two representatives. After all if we were located in one of the purely island authorities, we would have a ratio of 800-1 electorate per councillor, entitling us to five councillors.

Because were are located in a predominantly mainland authority, its ratio is driven by the mainland population of a radio of 3,000-1. This is why one councillor would give Arran 18 per cent less than electoral parity with the mainland, but two councillors would give it 39 per cent more than parity – hence the resistance to the move.

What is clear is that if Arran wants two councillors, following the next local elections, the time to act is now. As soon as the Banner knows when the public consultation is to start – it should be before the end of the year – we will let everyone know.

Then there will be plenty of time for everyone to make their voices heard.