Community council rules change

THE MEMBERSHIP arrangements for Angus community councils have been changed to better reflect their areas and encourage new members to join up.

Councillors approved the new arrangements, which followed a three-month public consultation, at the last Full Council meeting of the year.

The aim of the review was to develop a standard formula for calculating community councils’ membership, simplify co-option procedures and engage with the county’s young people through the creation of youth members, who would have full voting rights.

Instead of basing membership on estimated population figures for each community council area, it will now be calculated using electorate figures. Richard Stiff, council chief executive, said is beneficial as these can be updated every four years although the new formula will reduce the county’s overall community council membership by 27 to 267.

He said: “This, however, is still higher than current sitting membership numbers of 216 with only four community council at their maximum membership limit.”

The community councils will also be able to keep their current membership until their numbers comply with the new formula or the next set of elections.

Respondents to the consultation generally welcomed the proposals although there were objections from communities in the rural Inveresk Community Council’s area which will see its membership cut from 21 to nine, with three youth members.

Mrs Stiff said there is a “large discrepancy” between Inveresk and other large area groups in terms of districts and electorate the and number of community councillors.

He also said that Inveresk’s membership, which represents an electorate of 1,706, is matched only by Arbroath Community Council’s, which represents an electorate of around 20,000.

Inveresk’s case was raised by Brechin and Edzell councillor Bob Myles, who said the new arrangements could discourage local engagement by limiting representation but he was unable to find a seconder for his amendment to the membership formula.