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Council / Commission seeks views on electoral changes

Number of councillors set to increase to 23 representing eight wards

A MINOR shake-up in Shetland Islands Council’s electoral arrangements could be implemented for the next local government election in May 2022.

The Local Government Boundary Commission has launched a 12-week consultation to hear views on a number of changes they are proposing in a bid to improve representation of local communities.

The commission would like to see some adjustments to ward boundaries, while it wants to increase the number of councillors in Shetland from 22 to 23 and also increase the number of wards from seven to eight.

The organisation undertook a consultation with Shetland Islands Council between March and May and now it is keen to hear from the public.

The proposals were triggered by an imbalance in the number of electors per councillors in two of the wards, Shetland South and Shetland West. The number of elected members representing South would be increased from three to four, while Shetland West would be reduced to two councillors.

The existing North Isles ward would also reduce in size and number of councillors. Whalsay and Skerries would be removed from the North Isles and form part of a new ward, Shetland North East, together with Lunnasting, Vidlin, Nesting and Voe.

A redrawing the boundaries of the former Shetland North ward would see the area comprise of the communities of Brae, Hillswick, Mossbank, Ollaberry and North Roe, and have two councillors.

Shetland Central ward would include the communities of Burra, Trondra, Scalloway, Tingwall, Weisdale and Whiteness.

The new proposed wards are as follows:

These changes have become possible as part of the Islands Bill which passed in the Scottish Parliament in 2018.

Chairman of the boundary commission, Ronnie Hinds, said: “It is important that electoral arrangements for Scottish councils are effective and that our proposals deliver on requirements for electoral parity and, as far as possible, take account of local ties and special geographical considerations.

“Hearing local views on these issues is vitally important as we develop our final recommendations.”

The consultation can be found here.

General Election - 12 December 2019