Looking at the Variance map, what is immediately obvious
is that almost all of the city is slightly under average - only mathematically possible
because of the three wards that are so far above average, Darnall 10.9%, Burngreave 11.3%,
If the council remains with close to 28 wards then the majority of wards could remain, but
it is not possible to avoid wholesale change around the city centre.
The Boundary Commission like minimal changes. In 2002 almost all wards were drastically off
from the target (18 out of 28 wards were more than 10% off and 23 were outside 5%,
and many boundaries had been arbitarility drawn in the 1980 review, so the best model in
2002 was to wipe everything off the map and start again from scratch. This time, only
three wards are off target, and essentially only one ward is the cause for the review. The
best acceptable model to the Commission would be something that avoids wholesale change.
The 2002 review got very close to successfully grouping together
whole communities without splitting them up or grouping them in arbitary collections, and
rejoining communities that had been split up. A minimal change model would provide strong
continuity with these existing wards.
As predicted in 2002 Darnall has increased enough to allow
it to give the Handsworth salient (the Fitzalan (IE) polling district) back to
Handsworth/Woodhouse. On the 2013 electorate Woodhouse is too small to absorb it, it would
just swap the +10%/-6% to -6%/+10%. However, the 2018 forecast
shows Darnall growing to about +20% and Woodhouse dropping to about -10%. The Fitzalan
polling district is just the right size to transfer to Woodhouse resulting in both wards
being close to about +2%.
Burngreave was originally too small and had to be expanded in 2002, now it is too big by
almost the same amount and needs to be reduced. It can be reduced down to close to the
pre-2004 Burngreave by transfering Shirecliffe (FJ and a bit of FH) and Busk Meadow (FB)
back out (map),
This would drop Burngreave down to about 13,500 in 2013 (down from +11.3% to -7%) and
forecast down to about 15,500 in 2013 (down from +17 to -4%).
The current Central ward being +45% top heavy is the biggest problem, and is forecast to
get to +63% by 2018. Adding in the area around St. George's Close from Walkley, and
transfering the Broomhall (GB) polling district into Broomhill creates a single city centre
area consistantly bounded by the railway lines and Inner Ring Road. This City Centre area
has a current electorate of about 10,000, and forecast to increase to about 12,500. This
would be a consistant area to base a new City Centre ward on, spreading out past the Inner
Ring Road to get the additional 4,000 or so additional electors required for 27, 28 or 29
wards. Adding in the Broomhall (GB) and Edmund (GE) polling districts would bring this to
about 16,800; or adding Broomhall and the student residences around Boston Street would
come to about 16,500.
In summary, the following would be the simplest option to implement to deal with these three
wards with the greatest electorate discrepancies for any model with 27, 28 or 29 wards
transfer Fitzalan polling district to Woodhouse ward
transfer Shirecliffe and Busk Meadow out of Burngreave ward
create a City Centre ward bound by the Inner Ring Road and the two railway lines with
some additional areas just outside the ring road.
Each sector would then need adjustments of the remaining wards to tidy them up and take up
the slack from repairing the major discrepancies.
Currently: 3 wards
The north-west sector currently has 3 wards, and would be entitled to between 2.8 and 3.1 wards
for between 26 and 30 total wards. All three existing wards are within 5% tolerance with the
current electorate and with the 2018 forecast. It is possible to push the southern boundary
of Hillsborough southwards very slightly from Holme Lane/Bradfield Road to the River Loxley,
but no further.
The simplest model that would apply for any council size bwteen 26 and 30 wards is to keep the
three existing wards. Pushing the southern boundary to the River Loxley would add about 320
electors to Hillsborough if needed. If desired, the two rural 3-member wards could be combined
and replaced with three 2-members wards.
Currently: 6 wards
The north-east sector currently has 6 wards, and would be entitled to between 5.9 and 6.1 wards
with a full council of between 27 and 28 wards. However, although the sector is entitled to the
same number of wards as it currently has, Burngreave ward is 11% too big. Luckily, all the other
wards are slightly small, and all but Firth Park are forecast to be drifting smaller by 2018
(see forecast), so everything can be shuffled south to take up the
Burngreave can be altered by removing Shirecliffe and Busk Meadow as described above. East and
West Ecclesfield are forecast to be about 5%-6% too small, which is simple to rectify by
pushing their southern boundary a bit further south towards the pre-1968 Ecclesfield boundary
along Tongue Gutter/Sheffield Lane Dyke, taking in more of the remaining bits of Ecclesfield
that are not in a ward named Ecclesfield. The northern halves of Mansel (WE) and Parson Cross (WF)
polling districts would bring East and West Ecclesfield to about 2.0 wards. If desired, the two rural
3-member wards could be combined and replaced with three 2-members wards.
The remaining Southey, Firth Park and Shiregreen & Brightside wards with the bits added in to
reduce the size of Burngreave comes to near enough exactly 3.0 wards. Each of the three wards
is off from target, Shiregreen & Brightside and Firth Park forecast to be about 7% too big,
and Southey about 5% too small, so the three wards need to be shuffled slightly eastwards to
redistribute the electorate.
Currently: 11 wards
The south-east sector sector currently has 11 wards, and would be entitled to between 9.8 and 10.2 wards
with a full council of 26 to 27 wards, or would be entitled to 11 wards with a full council of 29 wards.
All the wards are around 5% too small (except Gleadless Valley), except for Darnall which is 11% too big.
All the wards other than Darnall and Gleadless Valley are forecast to be around 10% too small by 2018.
Darnall and Woodhouse can be brought into target by simply swapping Fitzalan polling district as described
above, leaving two wards neatly bound by strong geographic features. The remaining nine wards then need
rearranging into eight wards for a 27-ward model, or shuffled around to redistribute the nine wards for
a 29-ward model.
All the southern wards are too small, and forecast to get even smaller, so they need to get larger
geographically; the northern wards are growing so they need to shrink geographically to restore their
Currently: 8 wards
The south-west sector sector currently has 8 wards, and would be entitled to exactly 8 wards with
a full council of 27 wards. Any other full council size would result in the south-west sector
being entitled to a fractional number of wards. Although almost all the south-west wards are close
to the target electorate, it is severly unbalanced by Central ward at +45%, forcast to rise even
further to +63%, and the neighbouring Broomhill ward is forecast to continue its shrinkage to -13%.
As described above, the area within the Inner Ring Road forms a consistant area with an electorate
of about 12,500 than could form the core of a single ward, along with some areas just outside the
Inner Ring Road. Adding Central and Broomhill together gives 2.5 wards, so more has to be done than
just joining the greated oversized and undersiazed wards together. The area north of the Porter Valley
would give 3.6 wards, and the area south 3.4 wards, so the Porter Valley will have to be crossed at
some point. The geography constrains this to be nearer the city centre than elsewhere.
An option that could be considered is to slice the city centre into two parts so that the northern
and southern subsectors contain exactly four wards.
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- Authored by J.G.Harston
- Last update: 11-May-2013, 24-May-2013, 31-Mar-2014