Arran to be a single ward in boundary shake-up

Conservative Councillor Timothy Billings is one of three councillors serving the Ardrossan and Arran ward.

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Arran is to be a single ward with only one councillor to represent the island after next year’s council elections.

The island is currently served by three councillors who represent the Ardrossan and Arran ward on North Ayrshire Council.

However, in a review of electoral arrangements Boundaries Scotland, the former Boundaries Commission, is recommending to the Scottish Government  a one-member Arran ward to reflect Arran’s island status.

The report states: ‘We considered the case for a two-member Arran ward but concluded that the special geographic circumstances of Arran did not justify a forecast variation from parity of -39 per cent. An alternative would have been to retain the link between Arran and the mainland but this did not seem to us to recognise the distinctiveness of Arran’s island communities in light of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018.’

The single councillor will represent more than 3,800 electors, which represents 21.1 per cent more electors than absolute parity would require.

The report concludes: ‘We propose that in the interests of effective and convenient local government the future electoral arrangements for North Ayrshire Council area should provide for a council of 33 councillors in nine wards, comprising one ward returning one member, three wards each returning three members, two wards each returning four members and three wards each returning five members.’

This retains the same number of councillors as the existing arrangements.

The three councillors who presently represent Ardrossan and Arran are Conservative Timothy Billings, Ellen McMaster, now of the Alba Party, and the SNP’s Tony Gurney. It is only a coincidence that two of the current councillors live on Arran.

Councillor Billings said: ‘My view is that this is disappointing, however, that is what the Boundary Commission is recommending to the Scottish Government.’