Thanks to the careful work of the Local Boundary Commission, changes to the political boundaries between communities are rarely sinister but antipathy between Whitwick and Coalville in this regard dates back to the mid 19th Century. Local historian Denis Baker describes how, when Coalville Urban Council was brought together, Whitwick and Hugglescote Parishes complained bitterly.
This antagonism soon abated as they realised the greater powers available to them as part of a greater organisation.
When Leicestershire County Council asked for comments on its own suggested changes to the divisions between County seats, three consultees objected to the way the proposed Boundary Changes transgress the sacred ‘Green Wedge’ which protects Whitwick from the sprawling new town Coalville.
In response to this, the Labour group commissioned an alternative model that met this objection, maintained the integrity of the town and its historic, now satellite, village, and aimed to meet the Boundary Commission requirements for equitable division size.
The Working Group rejected this alternative in favour of a new arrangement that will split the Coalville division three ways. If the Boundary Commission choose to adopt the proposals put forward by the County Council, Coalville Town will be represented by three County Councillors. One will have their heart in Warren Hills, one will work primarily for Whitwick and another will hail from Hugglescote.
I am concerned that, in the absence of a Town Council, under the proposals here, Coalville’s three County Councillors will represent not a District Centre but a political vacuum.
A Coalville Town Council would be able to raise its own precept. Like Hugglescote and Donington le Heath Parish, it could negotiate to cut the grass in currently neglected patches of urban Highways land.
The historical experience of Coalville Urban Council suggests that, rather than each Parish fighting its own battles, the District Centre of North West Leicestershire should be encouraged to develop a Combined Parish Authority in which a new Coalville Town Council co-operates with the Parishes of Whitwick and Hugglescote.