Splitting The Parish


(This paper is the document referred to in minute 503/02.)

In March 2000 I wrote a paper for parish council about Milton Detached also known Chesterton Fen. It's still available online.

It pointed out that although 3.9% of our income from the precept comes from Milton Detached we spend no money there. Moreover many of the things we do spend money on, principally our support of MCC but also things like the mobile warden scheme, have no benefit to the people of Milton Detached.

As a result of that paper we tried, and failed, to encourage people from the area to join the council.

In discussions since it seems to be the broad view of the parish council that the best outcome would be for Milton Detached to become part of the City, but we know that a boundary review is unlikely at any point in the near future and there are political reasons why a change will be difficult even if there is a review (the City is unlikely to want to shoulder the burden of Milton Detached and SCDC will be worried about losing the Science Park as a quid pro quo).

The Boundary Committee Report

In April 2002 the Boundary Committee published its final report on electoral arrangements for South Cambridgeshire for the Electoral Commission. As part of that review they looked at Milton and Milton Detached and various proposals were put forward but the one finally settled upon was for the ward of Milton to continue to be the same as Milton Parish (Milton village and Milton Detached) but with a second district councillor.

Milton Detached clearly worried them though, and they commented on it thus in paragraph 151:

Where Now?

Not much has changed since I wrote that paper two years ago and it seems to me that little is likely to. We are never likely to do a good job for the people of Milton Detached because, fundamentally, it's a different community. Regardless of the traveller issue we are geographically remote from them and have no reason to go there. It seems to me that we are taking their money under false pretences.

The Boundary Committee report suggests the way forward: to split the parish in two, creating two separate parishes of Milton and Milton Detached (or Chesterton Fen or whatever you want to call it). From what I've read I think this may be possible in fairly short timescales. It might also give extra weight to the case for moving the new parish into the City later.

The new parish would be small so it wouldn't have to have a parish council, only a parish meeting, and it wouldn't have a budget so would not collect any council tax.

Planning matters would only be considered by SCDC (although there's no reason why Milton PC shouldn't comment on any planning application if it wishes, although we would only have the same status as any other representation).

At the district council level the ward would consist of the two parishes so we would share a district councillor (and two from May 2004) and similarly at county council level the division would remain the same with one councillor representing the two parishes plus Landbeach, Waterbeach and Chittering.

If council is agreeable then my understanding is that our first port of call is the district council, who are responsible for these matters, so we should write to them, pointing out what the Boundary Committee said, and asking for the parish to be split.

Paul Oldham 2002-12-22