Woking BC have now published their proposals for boundary changes. These changes are need to match the reduction in the number of Councillors from 36 to 30. The impact on Knaphill are on the edges of the village. First the land to the south, the natural boundary has always been the Basingstoke Canal but the proposal is to move the boundary north to the edge of the housing in Percheron Drive and Strathcona Gardens. That section of Brookwood Country Park should be in Knaphill. The current plan means that Knaphill FC ground is outside Knaphill?To the East of the village St. Johns school moves out if Knaphill. My understanding is that the current boundary is Raglan Road. The proposal is to move it to Beechwood Road.Residents are invited to submit their own comments, so do residents have views?
I attended last nights public meeting on the boundary changes. First I must point out that the presentation last night was of Woking Council's suggestions, the final decision rests with Boundary Commission.There are two main reasons for carrying out a boundary review and they are, change in the number of residents in the Borough and the reduction in the total number of Councillors. Woking has decided that from 2016 the Council will go down from 36 Councillors to 30 and each Ward will have a team of three Councillors. Given the projected size of Woking each Ward has a target of 7,802 residents.Knaphill currently has three Councillors and therefore the Ward required limited change. Our neighbour will be a new Ward that has been given the title Canalside. Canalside incorporates a number of medium sized villages/communities; Brookwood, Hermitage, Inkerman and St.Johns. The name Canalside comes from the fact that the Basingstoke Canal runs through three of the above communities.Coming back to Knaphill, as I stated earlier the target is for 7,802 residents per Ward. WBC's proposal would give Knaphill 7,801 resident. This figure includes all known new developments.What does Knaphill gain, the new development proposed for Brookwood Farm, the residents who live on Percheron Drive and Raynes Close. All would be in the enlarged Knaphill if WBC's proposal is adopted.What is lost; the first disappointment is the lost of greenbelt land north of the Basingstoke Canal. The proposal from WBC is for all of Brookwood Country Park being in Canalside. I argued that the Country Park is divided into two by the Bagshot Road and that the land between Bagshot Road and Hermitage roundabout should be in Knaphill and lets call it Knaphill Country Park. This land contains the football ground, home to Knaphill FC. As stated earlier the new Ward Canalside takes in Inkerman. Historically Inkerman has been part of Knaphill but WBC argue that to keep Inkerman in Knaphill would make the Ward too large. The proposal new boundary is round the back of the houses in Robin Hood Crescent, down Beechwood Road and Inkerman Road.There is a large display of all plans in Wolsey Way, opposite Specs Save. I have suggested that the large maps are also put on display in Knaphill library with information packs available for residents to take away.Residents have until 7 March to respond to WBC on their proposals. Just a reminder that the decision will be made by the Boundary Commission and we have until 1st April to submit views to the Boundary Commission. If you respond to WBC I would suggest that you make your views known to the Boundary Commission.The above represents my personal views, if you have any questions or want further information please come back to me.
Woking BC Executive Committee considered all the comments they have received following the public consultation on the changes to the boundaries for local elections. The Council have now formulated their preferred ideas and these will be presented to the full Council next week after which the Council submitting their proposals to the Boundary Commission.In the case of Knaphill the report from the Chief Executive states that the response from Knaphill residents was generally supportive with three specific concerns about where Victoria Road was split, a proposal for the southern boundary of the Ward should extend to the canal, and that certain properties along Littlewick Road should be in Knaphill not in Goldsworth Park. The above points have been accommodated to the extent number will permit. Representations in respect of areas formerly in the Ward of Knaphill but now included in Goldsworth Park, the area between Lockfield Drive and Robin Hood Road could not be accommodated as the numbers would not permit. By numbers they mean the number of residents within a Ward. The target is 7,802 and the current proposal has 7,958 residents in Knaphill. These figures included projected development like Brookwood Farm.The maps circulated at the Council Executive were not large enough to actually determine where the new boundary has been drawn but I can confirm that the land between the houses in Percheron Drive/ Strathcona Gardens and the canal has returned to Knaphill where it rightfully belongs. In time I hope this area will be renamed Knaphill Country Park.I have suggested that a larger map is displayed in the library so that residents can view the Councils preferred option.
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