Drawing a line

It looks like we are in for an old-fashioned boundary dispute between Swindon and Wiltshire councils. Expect lots of petty politics, with each side saying what a disaster it would be if the other council’s proposition came to pass. In response to Wiltshire’s bid for unitary status, Swindon proposes an expansion of its territory into North Wiltshire, to accommodate the government’s proposed growth plans for the town. There has already been much petty squabbling between county and district councils with associated waste of council-tax-payers’ money (note in particular the opposing conclusions drawn from one MORI survey). We can expect much more.

There is one thing that puzzles me in Councillor Bluh’s comments though.

There are no certain plans to expand into any specific areas at this stage, but obviously it would not be possible to expand to the east because of the boundary with Oxfordshire.

Why is Oxfordshire being treated with such deference? It’s not that long ago (1974) that the Vale of White Horse was part of Berkshire (which itself disappeared as a council in 1998 when its districts gained unitary status), so the boundary can hardly be described as sacrosanct.

Update: Well that was a big fuss about nothing. The proposal got a unanimous ‘no’ at Monday’s council meeting. That’s a rather quick about-turn from Mr Bluh.

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