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Council / Council boundary changes approved despite MSP’s concern

Lib Dem MSP Beatrice Wishart.

PLANS to alter Shetland’s electoral boundaries for council elections have been approved by the Scottish Parliament – but local MSP Beatrice Wishart has raised concern over their impact on the westside.

Under plans drawn up by Boundaries Scotland in a bid to rebalance the number of electors per councillor in the isles, Shetland will end up with 23 elected members instead of the current 22.

It will decrease the number of councillors in the Shetland West ward from three to two, and reduce its size, and add one to Shetland Central and another to Shetland South.

Gulberwick will move from Lerwick South to Shetland South.

Wishart said in parliament this week that she opposed the changes to the west ward.

“Community council members are strongly of the opinion that wards with three or four members are better able to put forward the views of those whom they represent and that a two-member ward will not be able to represent them fully on all the statutory committees and other non-statutory committees,” the MSP said.

Labour and the Lib Dems voted against the plans, with 92 MSPs in favour and 26 in opposition.

Speaking after the vote, Wishart said: “It would have been better to establish a seat, or retain the existing one, which would have better represented the community rather than one based purely on population size.”

The next council election will take place in May 2022.