Plans for younger and fewer councillors

The number of councillors representing the Western Isles could be cut by five and a suggestion has been put forward to have one councillor in each ward under the age of 30.

The Comhairle have backed plans to reduce the number of councillors and members discussed the best way forward at a seminar last month.

A report to members of the Policy and Resources Committee on Thursday stated that there was consensus from the Harris and Lochs councillors that these areas should be part of the same ward and that North Lochs, Kinloch and South Lochs should be part of the same ward which is not the case at the moment.

Currently South Lochs and Harris are joined into one and Uig and North Lochs in another.

Leader of the Comhairle Angus Campbell, Convener Norman A Macdonald, SNP Group Leader Donald Manford and a Uist councillor are due to meet with representatives from the Local Government Boundary Commission on April. The Commission have responsibility to make representations to the Scottish Ministers on Council boundaries and also on the number of councillors who should serve on councils.

They are currently taking forward the Fifth General Review of Electoral Arranagements.

Members were also updated on the Statutory Review of Polling Districts/Polling Places which took place in October last year.

Comments were received from the Harris Disability Access Panel regarding accessibility of polling stations and the issues raised will be taken forward by the Comhairle when training Polling Staff and Inspectors at each election.

Loch a Tuath councillor Catriona Stewart also commented on the suitability of the Coll Community Centre as a Polling Place due to difficulties in heating the hall.

The report states: “Alternative Polling Places within the Back area have been investigated and it is proposed to move the Polling Place for the Coll and Back Polling Districts to the Croileagan at Back School.”

The building is a fully disabled accessible building and reserved parking spaces will be available for electors.