The Local Government Boundary Commission is carrying out an electoral review of Brighton and Hove and this review may have an impact on the shape of our local government electoral wards – the areas used to elect our city Councillors
The aim of the electoral review is to recommend ward boundaries that mean each Councillor represents approximately the same number of voters, and to ensure that the ward boundaries reflect the interests and identities of local communities, as well as promoting effective local government.
The review proposals have been published and effect the layout of wards in different ways – here are the proposals for Hanover & Elm grove, which include changes to the Phoenix Estate – placing it in Queens Park Ward, and to some streets in the St Luke’s area, placing them in Hanover & Elm grove from Queens Park.
Phoenix Estate concerns: At the recent Forum meeting, Phoenix residents expressed concern about these changes. According to the Commission report, the reason given was:
On our virtual tour we noted that Phoenix Rise, Tamplin Terrace,
Malthouse Lane and Phoenix Place have no direct road access to Hanover & Elm
Grove ward and would be better placed in Queen’s Park. While these amendments
mean forecast variances for both wards are poorer, we believe this is justified by the
better reflection of community identities and our statutory criteria. We welcome
comments from local residents on whether these proposals accurately reflect local
understandings of communities in the area. (Commission report Page 34 point 128)
Those at the meeting were questioning of this statement for the following broad reasons:
- For vehicle access the Phoenix Estate is currently split into two parts – the lower part (Phoenix Place, Malthouse Lane & Tamplin Terrace) are accessed from Albion Street which is currently in Queens Park ward, however the upper part (Phoenix Rise and Newhaven Street) is accessed from Hanover & Elm grove with no direct access form Queens Park ward. This means that the commission concerns around access would not be resolved – just reversed, with a part of Queens Park only accessible from Hanover & Elm grove.
- These proposals would provide a ward boundary running part way along one side only of Newhaven Street which may impact negatively upon effective local governance as it would arbitrarily split the street between two wards.
- Since the start of the Hanover & Elm Grove Communities Forum the Phoenix Residents Association as well as the Phoenix ArtSpace have been central participants, taking a leading role in community building across the ward and these changes risk a substantial and negative impact upon “the interests and identities of local communities” is it would sever the strong community links which have been forged within the ward.
- One of the key activities of the Forum is around supporting sustainable transport in the area through the Liveable Neighborhood scheme. There are well defined and well used pedestrian and cycle links between the Phoenix Estate and the surrounding areas and a low level of car ownership among residents, and it seems at odds with current concerns around the climate emergency to seek to define our communities based on car access, and an approach which can be seen as highly questionable.
If you would like more information about the review, including how to comment, look here – https://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/south-east/east-sussex/brighton-and-hove
The consultation is open until April 11th 2022