Councillor James Jamieson’s monthly column: Communities work - so lets keep them together

WHEN I took up the role of leader of Central Bedfordshire Council I committed to having a better dialogue with local people.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 14th November 2011, 3:00 pm

So I’m delighted that more than 2,000 residents took part in our recent Budget 2012 survey which has given us a very clear indication of which services residents believe we should be focusing our resources and money on and where savings can me made. This feedback will inform our budget for next year, and our future spending plans.

We also wanted to test satisfaction with our services and the local area. This research showed that customer satisfaction is improving, with 11 per cent more customers being satisfied than they were two years ago when the council was launched.

Residents are also happier with the area, with 81 per cent of residents satisfied with where they live.

I want to do everything I can to make sure that our services and our area continue to improve and thrive. It was with this in mind that I presented my responses to the Boundary Commission on their proposed changes to Central Bedfordshire’s electoral wards.

These proposals threaten to undermine the progress we have made in developing a sense of community.

As a largely rural area we benefit from long-established relationships and strong links between our market towns and their nearby villages. The proposals threaten to break up those historic affiliations - putting Dunstable as part of Luton, splitting Ampthill and Flitwick with two separate MPs, linking Potton, Stotfold and Arlesey with Letchworth and Shefford, Henlow and Silsoe with Hitchin and Harpenden.

We need our MPs to be able to work with us to focus on and promote Central Bedfordshire and our established communities. Putting MPs in a position where their constituency covers different counties, different education systems and different communities with different needs serves no one.