All political parties in East Renfrewshire Council (ERC) have joined the local authority in opposing plans to link Barrhead with Uplawmoor.

The News previously reported how a 12-week consultation exercise is being launched by the national body which governs boundary changes in Scotland.

ERC chief executive Lorriane McMillan has expressed reservations about the plans and now it has been joined by both Labour and SNP councillors, including the area’s provost, who described the proposals as “bizarre”.

Speaking to The News on Thursday, SNP provost Alistair Carmichael said: “In my personal opinion the number of councillors in our area should be going up.

“Our population has already surpassed projected figures for several years from now and we are set to lose two councillors — Inverclyde has a declining population and it is set to gain one.

“We are trying to oppose these changes as they simply don’t make any sense — I think it is safe to say that this is a cross party opposition as I am joined on the committee in charge of opposing this by Tory leader councillor Gordon McCaskill.” Maps would be redrawn to include Uplawmoor within Barrhead’s ward, resulting in it being re-named Barrhead, Liboside and Uplawmoor.

And it was these proposals that Provost Carmichael found most bizarre.

He said: “There does not seem to be a reasonable argument for these changes, the demographics and geographical differences between Uplawmoor and Barrhead are great, and not only that but you have Neilston sitting squarely in between them.

“And Neilston will remain part of a ward which includes streets in Newton Mearns which again are quite remote from each other — and they lose a councillor in the process.

“It’s not a proposal that I think makes sense.” The provost’s comments were echoed by Barrhead Labour councillor Kenny Hay, who was moved to brand the proposals as nonsense.

He said: “Their reasons for the changes are spurious at best.

“They have not taken into account the amount of house building that is going to be going on in the area.

“The population of Barrhead is set to increase, and the four current councillors, myself, Betty Cunningham (Labour), Danny Devlin (independent) and Tommy Reilly (SNP) have a large workload already.

“We don’t mind this as we knew what we were signing up for during the elections.

“But this linking with Uplawmoor is strange, it shares none of the same issues that Barrhead might have, especially when compared to some areas of Auchenback and Dunterlie — there’s just no common link.

“In fact, there isn’t even a good public transport link between them.

“I feel like they are making changes for the sake of making changes here.” The Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland (LGBCS) is proposing the changes, which also include linking Eaglesham with Newton Mearns.

The affects of the changes would mean a reduction in council wards from six to five, and the number of councillors in the area being reduced from 20 to 18.

A spokesman for the LGBCS said: “There would be two wards with three elected members and three with four councillors.

“Local residents are invited to comment on the proposals — views can be given on an interactive portal. The plans are also available to view at the council offices in Eastwood Park and Barrhead Main Street.” In May, ERC held a special meeting where it outline its opposition to the plans.

ERC rejected the proposals, saying it will cause under representation in the area and the commission has not taken into account the affects of population growth.

The LGBC recommended that Barrhead should be linked with Lochliboside and Uplawmoor, creating one large ward that stretches around Neilston.

However, part of Liboside takes in the communities of Gateside and even some streets in Neilston, and council bosses say they are worried that this would impact Barrhead’s community identity.

A report delivered by ERC’s chief executive Lorraine McMillan to meeting of the full council in May said: “In the response given to LGBC in May 2014, the council stated that East Renfrewshire has an increasing population and there is no reduction in the responsibilities and workload of councillors.

“The LGBC considered the council’s representations but decided to proceed with the proposals for a decrease in councillor numbers.

“There is no good reason to increase the burden on councillors by increasing the average number of electors whom they have to serve.”