MSPs Marie McNair SNP and Labour’s Jackie Baillie have expressed concerns about the proposed changes.
By Bill Heaney
There are going to be a lot of unhappy householders around if proposals to change the parliamentary boundaries proposed for the Dumbarton parliamentary constituency go ahead.
If this happens householders from Ardoch to Ardencaple would be required to drop Argyll from their postal address.
And this could cost them money when they come to sell their homes, which would be back in deprived West Dunbartonshire instead of aspirational Argyll, where they are now.
And it could have a significant impact on council tax which would be imposed by the reorganized local authorities.
Helensburgh, where property prices are are usually higher than in Dumbarton.
House prices in Argyll, which at present includes Cardross, Helensburgh, Rhu, Garelochhead, Luss, Inverbeg, Tarbet, Arrochar and the Rosneath Peninsula are generally speaking higher than in most parts of Dunbartonshire.
Argyll is perceived by many as posh middle class while Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven are looked upon as much deprived and dowdy working class.
Dumbarton constituency MSP Jackie Baillie is perplexed by what is happening on the boundary front.
She told The Dumbarton Democrat: “The communities of Loch Lomondside and the Rosneath Peninsula are intrinsically linked with Helensburgh, Balloch, the Vale of Leven and Dumbarton.
“They share local health services, including the Vale of Leven Hospital, schools and transport links. People from these communities work and shop in Helensburgh, Dumbarton and Balloch. The travel to work area relates to Glasgow and not north.
“These factors need to be seriously considered [before any final decision on this extremely important matter is made].
“It is disappointing that the natural connections between these areas has not been recognised within these proposals.”
Meanwhile, the new boundary plans which would see Clydebank split in two have been branded as “bizarre and disrespectful” by the town’s MSP, Marie McNair, who is also a member of the SNP group on West Dunbartonshire Council.
Clydebank from the Titan Crane at Queens Quay. Pictures by Bill Heaney
The proposals would see Clydebank cut in half, with the majority of the Clydebank Waterfront ward and Old Kilpatrick moving into the “Dumbarton and Helensburgh” constituency.
Elsewhere, areas such as Dalmuir, Drumry and Whitecrook would remain in the renamed “Bearsden, Milngavie and Clydebank North” constituency.
Folk in Whitecrook will find themselves astonishingly along with householders from Dalmuir and Drumry n the renamed “Bearsden, Milngavie and Clydebank North” constituency.
What having Bearsden in their address will do for the residents of Whitecrook is anyone guess, but it’s unlikely to harm them when it comes to selling their property.
Suggestion from the public will close in a fortnight on June 17.
Marie McNair is urging locals to make their views known and oppose the proposal to break up Clydebank.
She said: “As someone who has represented the Clydebank area for many years I am very concerned about these proposals. The proposals are bizarre and disrespectful to the history of our town.
“Clydebank is a distinct community and it would be unacceptable to go ahead with these plans to cut it in half. As they currently stand, these proposals would damage long-existing community relationships and harm the ongoing efforts to regenerate Clydebank.
“Clydebank residents have tolerated ever-increasing services being taken from our town and transferred to Dumbarton, but the notion that half our town transfer there as well is crass and insulting.
“I urge residents, community councils and all other local groups to respond to the consultation before June 17 and demand that the proposal to break up Clydebank is revised.”
Boundaries Scotland is an independent, non-political body legally responsible for carrying out reviews of Scottish Parliament boundaries.
According to their website, the reason for the proposed changes is due to the ‘population of different areas changing over time’ and to ensure an MSP is elected by ‘roughly the same number of people.’
Dumbarton from the air showing town centre, the old High Church spire, River Leven, Levengrove, Kirktonhill and West Bridgend.
Boundaries Scotland said: “Our first consultation on our initial proposals runs until June 17 and we are very keen to hear from local people what they think.
All the information is set out on our consultation portal and we hope people, including local representatives, will respond.
“Our proposals aim to ensure each MSP is elected by roughly the same number of people and that’s important for electoral fairness.
“We do care about local ties though and if it’s possible to develop an alternative that meets the legislative requirements we will.
“As the electorate moves over time through change to constituency boundaries, especially in areas of high population, is almost inevitable as the last review reported in 2010.”
Information on the proposals can be found here https://boundaries.scot/