Councillor blasts plan for Bellshill ward boundary switch

Councillor Burrows has blasted the plan to alter North Lanarkshire Council ward boundaries.
Councillor Burrows has blasted the plan to alter North Lanarkshire Council ward boundaries.

A plan to switch part of Bellshill into a new council ward in Thorniewood has been slammed by one of the area’s councillors.

Current Thorniewood member Bob Burrows says the move would be a ‘disaster’ for residents in the Shirrel area.

The Boundary Commission for Scotland has proposed adding Shirrel to the current Thorniewood ward and increasing the number of councillors from three to four.

But Councillor Burrows says the move would split Shirrel residents from the rest of Bellshill.

He said: “The suggested proposal is a nonsense. There is no local connection between Thorniewood and Shirrel, absolutely none.

“Why should a resident from Shirrel be disadvantaged? If someone from the east side of the Shirrel needs to visit one of the local councillor surgeries in Thorniewood the nearest Surgery at Fallside is just short of three miles away.

“If Shirrel residents do not have their own transport it will take two buses to visit their councillor. This is going to chase constituents away.

“What will happen is residents from Shirrel will attend the local surgeries of other Bellshill councillors, as they have done for years.

“The Bellshill councillors will have to inform them they need to go to Thorniewood. This is a mess. At a time when people in Scotland want to participate more politically, this proposal to extract Shirrel from Bellshill is taking us in a backward step.”
Councillor Burrows said that the current Thorniewood ward had one of the most natural boundaries in North Lanarkshire and he sees no need to change it.

He said: “To the north is the A8 and proposed new M8 motorway. On the south side is the A74 motorway along with the main Edinburgh/Glasgow rail line.

“To the west is the M73 motorway and to the east is the A725 dual carriageway link road between Coatbridge and the Raith interchange. The full ward lies within this very large V shaped area. Why change this?

“The Boundary Commission may take a view that some changes are required throughout Scotland and this might be right, but not for North Lanarkshire Council.

“The Shirrel area added to current Thorniewood shows that the Commission has not properly thought out this proposal.

“It looks as though it has looked at a map of our area, got a sharp pin, stuck it in and come up with this stupid proposal. Shirrel deserves to be left in Bellshill and Thorniewood ward should be left as it is.”

The move is part of an overall plan to have seven new councillors in North Lanarkshire. The plan is due to be discussed by the council’s policy and resources committee this week.