Split over boundary row

KESGRAVE and Martlesham have joined forces to battle against moves to drive a wedge between them in future voting elections.Suffolk County Council has recommended the closely-linked communities be separated in new electoral divisions, which are currently being muted by the Boundary Commission.

KESGRAVE and Martlesham have joined forces to battle against moves to drive a wedge between them in future voting elections.

Suffolk County Council has recommended the closely-linked communities be separated in new electoral divisions, which are currently being muted by the Boundary Commission.

In each of the three recommendations for the Suffolk Coastal area put forward by the county council, parts of Kesgrave and Martlesham appear in different electoral wards.

This despite the two communities embarking on various linked projects and sharing local schooling.

Both Kesgrave town council and Martlesham parish council have registered their objections to the proposals and have been backed by the current county council ward member for the area, John Kelso.

At present, he has responsibility for both communities but the rapidly-growing nature of Kesgrave means the area is now too big for one elected representative to cover.

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The county council's aim of having one councillor for every 6,500 people in the area means two ward members will be needed to serve Kesgrave and Martlesham if their link remained. This is because the combined electorate of both communities is expected to total more than 12,000 by 2007.

Mr Kelso said the "close affinity" of Kesgrave and Martlesham means it is in their interests to be served by ward members who liase between the two communities.

Lynne Lodge, clerk of Martlesham parish council, cited the "natural ties" between the communities as a reason for retaining the link.

"We know that this could cause problems with boundaries elsewhere but that is not our concern," she said.

Veronica Read, clerk of Kesgrave town council, also criticised proposals to split Kesgrave into two different wards.

She said: "It is essential that a rapidly growing community such as ours is not divided in this manner.

"Building a community spirit takes time and to have different county councillors representing the two wards of the town would have a detrimental effect."

N What do you think of the proposed boundary changes? Do they affect you? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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