Garff authorities meet committee

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THE chairman of each of the three Garff local authorities – Laxey, Lonan and Maughold – met with the Boundary Review Committee this month about their concerns over the proposed revision of the MHK constituencies.

Under recommendations by the committee, the current one-seat constituency of Garff would be split, with Laxey and Lonan forming a new East constituency with a large part of Onchan parish, while Maughold would form part of North, with Bride, Andreas, Michael, Lezayre and Jurby.

At the meeting, which was also attended by sitting Garff MHK Steve Rodan SHK, the three chairmen made clear their view that Maughold would be better placed in the proposed East constituency, rather than in the North as indicated in the report.

The committee agreed to consider the points made by the Garff representatives, ahead of the closing date for public comments to be made to the Boundary Review Committee which is on Wednesday.

The grounds for the objection are centred around Maughold, Laxey and Lonan’s long-established close working partnership, which helps each provide services at cost effective levels.

They also said splitting the territory would be against ‘the overwhelming wishes of constituents.’

In addition, concerns have been raised about the sheer geographical size of the proposed North constituency, which would be equal to others in terms of population but dwarf them in area as it would encompass around 40 per cent of the island’s land mass.

Local authority members from the northern parishes have already expressed concerns that this size could put potential candidates off standing in the area.

On the meeting, Maughold clerk Martin Royle said: ‘It was a real joint Garff effort. The temperature of the meeting is that they’re certainly open to considering different options.

‘They’re listening, and we’re hopeful, but they have a lot of things to consider.’

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