I am writing to add my weight to many hundreds of my constituents who attended a public meeting on Tuesday 1st September and the regular October meeting of The Broughty Ferry Community Council as well as those that have already submitted written representations.
The former meeting was the largest about a local issue in The Ferry during my eight years as a City Councillor. The latter meeting was the largest public attendance at an ordinary meeting of the Community Council for many years.
Almost without exception residents from West Ferry were hostile to your proposals. Almost without exception residents from other parts of The Ferry were supportive of retaining the entire Ferry ward and not having West Ferry pruned off or any other part of their ward subsumed into another ward. I understand that this has been reflected in the written representations you have already received.
As an opposition Councillor, I regret that I did not take the opportunity to move against what became the LGBCS proposal when the Council discussed this.
At that meeting, the tabled proposal from the majority SNP group on the Council was obviously going to be voted through.
The case for retention of the current boundary for Ward 8 does not however wholly depend on the number of objectors but also the following arguments:
Using the LGBCS figures, not unreasonable parity, would be achieved by retaining the existing ward boundary.
The Ferry Ward is effectively identical with the long established community of Broughty Ferry.
The electoral boundary currently adequately defines what is essentially the eastern suburb of Dundee.
This arrangement will be disrupted by the proposed boundary change.
This moves the western boundary eastwards so that the West Ferry part of Broughty Ferry will, to a great extent, be merged into the adjoining East End Ward.
The western boundary of the historic (independent and electorally separate) Police Burgh of Broughty Ferry is identical to the current western boundary of West Ferry/Broughty Ferry (this has been confirmed to the Community Council by Ian Flett, the City Archivist).
After Broughty Ferry was subsumed into Dundee in 1913, this electoral boundary was retained and exists to this day.
Not only is the existing Ward 8 boundary historically significant, but the identity of The Ferry is strongly felt not only by residents born and bred in The Ferry but also by those residents like me that have moved to the city and made their home in Broughty Ferry.
The strength and prevalence of these ties are also evidenced by the volume of objections you have already received.
There is a complex web of local statutory and voluntary organisations that serve people in the ward; for example the Broughty Ferry Community Council and Grove Academy.
Significantly, while much of the current West Ferry lies outside the current catchment area of Grove Academy, through placing requests and the increased capacity of the new Grove Academy, many children from West Ferry attend Grove Academy along with their counterparts from other neighbourhoods in The Ferry ward.
I think there is now overwhelming evidence of a strongly held held consensus amongst my constituents that The Ferry ward should retain its existing boundaries.
It is now the responsibility of the Commission, not the electors of The Ferry ward, to decide the potential alternative changes that might be required in adjoining wards to make this aspiration a reality.