2 April 2016

To NCRA Members :

On 9thFebruary 2016 we reported that the Electoral Commission had announced their draft recommendation for a new ward : St Marys and St James that was similar but not identical to that proposed by the North Cray Residents Association.

On 31st March 2016, our chairman, David Cook wrote to the commission requesting that they reconsider their proposal :

A full copy of the letter is available here

The main text is as follows : 

Dear Sir

Recommendations For The London Borough of Bexley

First, we would like to say how much we appreciate your having taken on board the majority of our suggestions and hopes for the future of the present Cray Meadows Ward.

There are, however, two areas where we feel that your proposals do not benefit, or provide the best solutions, for the local community and the environment. Could we please request, therefore, that you reconsider your recommendation and adjust the boundary lines for St Marys and St James Ward as outlined below and as shown on our attached map.

Proposed Boundary West of the North Cray Road

We strongly recommend that the whole of Foots Cray Meadows is included in St Marys and St James ward. We do of course recognise that the River Cray, like any river, appears to form a natural boundary but in this case there would be distinct advantages in not adopting the Cray as the boundary but to adopt the western edge of the Meadows' boundary instead.

The reasons for this are as follows:

1. Although the Meadows are in the single ownership (and stewardship) of Bexley Council, splitting this piece of land into two parts would mean different people (our ward's councillors and those of the adjoining ward) becoming involved in any issues that might need to be raised with the land owner – perhaps with conflicting views.

2. The communities making up the new St Marys and St James Ward are known to offer very active and much greater support in/of the protection and interests of the Meadows, and Green Belt and Heritage Land, on the part of local residents, than those west of the Meadows' boundary, and

3. A great deal of this protection, monitoring and dedication to the Meadows' welfare is provided by the Friends of Foots Cray Meadows, whose chairman is a member of our management committee, and we know that the Friends are very disappointed to see that it is proposed to divide the Meadows between two separate wards.

4. We know, from canvassing opinion prior to making our initial submission, that the majority of North Cray Residents Association members favour this option.

The Proposed Boundary South of the Maidstone Road

The area that would be included in the new St Marys and St James Ward would be one that is predominantly commercial rather than residential, which would be at odds with the latter. We still feel that this commercial area would be better served by councillors representing Sidcup and Foots Cray than by those of St Marys and St James.

Please, may we ask you to think again about the above proposals?

Yours faithfully,

David H Cook

D H Cook