RESIDENTS across Silkstone and Silkstone Common are rejoicing this week after the Boundary Commission sided with their wishes to remain in the Penistone East ward - after scores of locals aired their concerns about proposed changes.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) reviewed Barnsley’s 21 boundaries having last done so in 2003 - and their final draft report was released to the public earlier this week.

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.

Though the Chronicle understands this was due to projections of electors in each ward, which has now been revised.

Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Miriam Cates wrote to the government last week airing her concerns regarding the ‘concerning decision’, claiming there had been no consultation held with residents regarding the plans.

However, the Boundary Commission has now reviewed the number of electors and decided to side with the residents following the backlash.

The report states: “We received 141 submissions in response to our consultation on ward boundaries.

“These included three borough-wide proposals from the council, Barnsley Council’s Liberal Democrat Group and a local resident.

“The remainder of the submissions provided localised comments for warding arrangements in particular areas of the borough.

“The council proposed to include the Silkstone Common area of Silkstone parish in Dodworth ward arguing that this was needed to resolve poor electoral equality in Penistone.

“It also argued that Silkstone Common was distinct from Silkstone and related well to Dodworth town.

“We have carefully considered the submissions received and recognise the clear view expressed with respect to the council’s proposed ward boundary between Dodworth and Penistone East.

“We also note the evidence offered in these submissions of the strong community ties between Silkstone and Silkstone Common and the view that there are more limited ties to the town of Dodworth.

“For the reason that it maintains Silkstone Common and Silkstone in Penistone East ward.

“We consider that our proposed ward demonstrates that we have listened to the views of the local community in Silkstone and Silkstone Common.”

Mrs Cates told the Chronicle she was thrilled with the decision.

She added: “I’m delighted that the Boundary Commission has listened to the parish council, the residents of Silkstone and Silkstone Common, Coun Robert Barnard and myself and agrees that the two villages are intrinsically linked and are best served by remaining in the Penistone East ward.

“To have split the parish in half and included Silkstone Common in an urban ward with Dodworth would have been totally inappropriate for the needs of the local community.

“Our rural villages need a clear focus on the issues that affect them, which is something I’ve been working with local councillors to address.

“I’m pleased that I was able to help residents to fight the proposals to split the villages and that our arguments were accepted by the Boundary Commission.”

Coun Sir Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, told the Chronicle: “We’re pleased the Local Government Boundary Commission has revised its projections of electors in each ward, which has meant it’s now possible to reunite Silkstone and Silkstone Common.

“This was our original intention.

“It’s also good news that it’s no longer necessary to split Great Houghton.  

“We’re concerned about the Commission’s proposal to divide Birdwell, and we’re looking at possible alternatives which we will share with the Commission as part of our formal response.  

“We want to make sure the proposals are future-proofed for Barnsley in terms of population growth so we don’t have to do another boundary review in the near future.”

New ward proposals

A NUMBER of new wards have also been proposed in the Boundary Commission’s final draft.

Dearne North is set to become Thurnscoe and Goldthorpe North whilst Dearne South will turn into Bolton and Goldthorpe Green.

Great Houghton will enter into the Darfield Ward whilst Low Valley will now be encompassed within the Wombwell ward.

The current electorate in Barnsley is 184,406 but it’s anticipated this will increase to 193,614 by 2029.

Therefore each of Barnsley’s 63 councillors will have more residents under their wing.

The Dodworth ward is expected to have 1,339 more residents able to vote by 2029 - the highest in the borough.

A report states: “The existing Dodworth ward will be subject to a considerable amount of housing development with over 1,000 more electors forecast to be in place by 2029.

“The council’s proposed ward was based on the original forecast which has been revised downwards.”

New wards and 2029 electorate

Athersley - 8,664 (321 more voters)

Bolton and Goldthorpe Green - 9,663 (446 more)

Central - 8,607 (247 more)

Cudworth - 8,526 (397 more)

Darfield and Great Houghton - 10,160 (533 more)

Darton East - 9,522 (694 more)

Darton West - 8,920 (143 more)

Dodworth - 9,713 (1,339 more)

Hoyland Milton - 9,869 (320 more)

Kingstone - 8,255 (178 more)

Monk Bretton - 9,924 (571 more)

North East - 8,589 (306 more)

Old Town - 8,790 (203 more)

Penistone East - 9,175 (220 more)

Penistone West - 10,099 (608 more)

Rockingham - 9,107 (724 more)

Royston - 8,524 (345 more)

Stairfoot - 9,308 (385 more)

Thurnscoe and Goldthorpe North - 9,096 (548 more)

Wombwell - 10,018 (384 more)

Worsbrough - 9,106 (317 more)