On 26 February 2008, the Boundary Committee for England began the first round of public consultation in the review of local government electoral arrangements for the prospective new Wiltshire unitary authority.
Parliament has approved a bid from Wiltshire County Council for a new unitary authority covering the whole of Wiltshire. This means that the County Council and the four district councils in the county will be merged together from 1 April 2009 and a new single unitary council will be created covering the whole of the county.
As the structure of local government in the area will be changing, the Boundary Committee is now undertaking a review of electoral arrangements in the county to ensure there are fair arrangements in place for the first election to the new Council.
The main aim of an electoral review is to provide for ‘electoral equality’. That means all councillors in a single authority representing approximately the same number of electors. The Committee will look at the number of councillors to be elected to the new Council and also the boundaries of the individual areas they will represent. The aim is for the new arrangements to be in place for elections in May 2009.
The review includes two rounds of public consultation. The first began on 26 February 2008 and lasts for eight weeks, ending on 21 April 2008. The Committee is consulting locally to help decide how many councillors the new Council should have and what the new local government electoral boundaries should be.
Anyone wishing to submit their views at this stage should let the Committee know what they think and why. The Committee needs as much clear and well-argued evidence as possible in order to develop draft recommendations for Wiltshire.
A second stage of public consultation will begin in the summer when people can respond to the Committee’s draft recommendations.
The review is likely to conclude in autumn 2008 when the Boundary Committee makes its final recommendations to the Electoral Commission.
Max Caller, Chair of the Boundary Committee, said: “In this review, we will take a number of factors into account including community identity. We want local people to let us know how particular boundaries may impact on communities and we encourage anyone who is interested in the new unitary council for Wiltshire, from local government to community groups and residents, to submit evidence-based proposals to the Committee.”
If you would like to make a submission to the Boundary Committee, please write to:The Electoral Review of Wiltshire The Boundary Committee Trevelyan House 30 Great Peter Street London SW1P 2HW
Sarah Garrett on 020 7271 0704
outside office hours: 07789 920414
1. The Boundary Committee for England is responsible for reviewing local authority electoral arrangements, e.g. defining boundaries for local elections and the number of councillors to be elected, and for conducting reviews of local government external boundaries and structure.
2. Further guidance on responding to a Boundary Committee consultation is available on the website www.boundarycommittee.org.uk