BARNSLEY’S only Conservative MP has written to the government airing her concerns after proposals were submitted to remove Silkstone Common from its parish and move it to the Dodworth ward with ‘no consultation’.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) are currently reviewing Barnsley’s 21 boundaries having last done so in 2003.

Approval to press ahead was granted by the council’s ruling cabinet in January - which notably saw Silkstone Common moving from Penistone East into the Dodworth ward.

Miriam Cates, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, called the decision ‘concerning’ and called on the government to think twice about approving the proposals.

She said: “I know from speaking to local residents on the doorstep and from discussion with Silkstone Parish Council that many people are concerned by Barnsley Council’s proposal to move Silkstone Common into the Dodworth ward.

“This would involve splitting Silkstone and Silkstone Common between different wards, despite the fact they share many services and are closely linked communities.

“Silkstone Common belongs in a rural ward such as Penistone East, along with similar villages, whilst Dodworth is a more urban area that has closer ties to Barnsley itself.

“All of these places benefit from having local representation that reflect and understand their different situations.”

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Mrs Cates said there is ‘near universal support’ that both Silkstone Common and Silkstone should not be separated, and claimed there had been no consultation exercise completed by Barnsley Council before the proposals were submitted.

“If the residents had been asked, they would have told the council that it would be completely inappropriate for the parish to be divided in this way, given the high level of interconnectedness between the two villages,” she added.

“Not only do they have a common history and identity, but they also share key services and facilities including a church, primary school, train station and recreational facilities.

“From speaking to residents, I know there is near universal support amongst people in Silkstone and Silkstone Common to keep the two villages united under their single parish council in the same electoral ward.

“However, they are deeply concerned by the actions of Barnsley Council in producing a submission without consulting the community.

“On behalf of both communities I am therefore seeking assurances that their responses to the consultation will be taken into account fully, that the Barnsley Council proposals will not be adopted against their wishes, and that the boundary commission will look further into the irregularities in the consultation to ensure that local people are able to rely on the process going forward.”

Wendy Popplewell, executive director of core services, said: “Barnsley Council submitted a response to the Local Government Boundary Commission consultation on the future ward boundaries of Barnsley Council.

“The legal restrictions of this review mean that all wards must have an equal number of voters, sadly it is not always possible to group all of our communities together in this way.

“The Local Government Boundary Commission are considering all the submissions they have received and will announce their proposals in mid-May.

“There will then be a 12 week consultation for all residents to comment on these proposals before any final decisions are made.”