Proposed changes to Shropshire Council’s ward boundaries in north Shropshire have been slammed as “totally inappropriate” by the authority.

The council has voiced major objections to the plans to re-define certain areas of the county, including Wem, Bayston Hill and Shifnal, saying the new wards being put forwards do not reflect community ties.

It has asked the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE), which is conducting the review, to visit the county to get a better idea of local feeling before making its final proposals.

A consultation on the LGCBE’s draft proposals, which were published in May, closed on Monday.

The council’s response sets out how it broadly supports the proposals for most areas, including Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Whitchurch, Market Drayton, Ludlow, Bridgnorth, Church Stretton and Craven Arms.

However other areas of the review, which aims to re-draw the county’s boundaries so that each councillor will represent 3,594 voters, have been met with “strong concerns”.

Under the draft proposals, the current two-member division of Wem would be split into two wards, with the majority of the town itself coming under Wem Town, and a new Wem Rural and Whixall division taking in the surrounding areas as well as a small part of the town to the south east of the railway line.


This would leave the town ward 10 per cent over the optimum number of voters by 2028, and the rural “doughnut-shaped” ward surrounding it 10 per cent under.

Instead, the council says in its consultation response that the current two-member division should remain.

It says: “The proposed Wem Urban division could meet the needs of most of the town but those living in the detached south east section of Wem in the rural division are very much part of the town, not the rural hinterland.

“They could be largely disenfranchised as most of their services and infrastructure would lie in a different division.

“Creating an electoral division from the whole of Wem Urban parish would not be feasible in terms of electoral numbers.

“However, removing part of the town into a different electoral division is not logical in terms of maintaining community identity or community cohesion.”

The letter says the town council and “all locals, without exception” support the retention of the two-member ward, and points out the LGCBE’s own guidance discourages “doughnut wards”.

It adds: “Shropshire Council would recommend an independent visit to Wem to better understand the location and community, before reaching a final decision.”

The council has also vehemently objected to the proposed joining of Bayston Hill with surrounding villages currently under the Burnell division to create a new two-member ward.

The LGCBE’s final recommendations will be published on October 3, and are expected to be approved by Parliament in November. The changes will come into effect at the 2025 local elections.