The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is asking people across Buckinghamshire to comment on its draft proposals for new electoral arrangements for Buckinghamshire County Council.
A 12-week public consultation on the recommendations begins today and will end on 10 October 2011. The consultation is open to anyone who wants to have their say on new electoral divisions, division boundaries and division names across Buckinghamshire.
The Commission’s draft recommendations propose that Buckinghamshire County Council should have 49 county councillors – a reduction of eight from the current arrangements. The proposals would mean those county councillors would represent 49 single-member divisions across the county.
The full recommendations and maps are available on the Commission’s website at www.lgbce.org.uk. They will also be available to view at local council buildings and libraries.
Max Caller, Chair of the LGBCE, said: “Today we are publishing proposals for a new pattern of electoral divisions across Buckinghamshire and we’re keen to hear what local people think of the recommendations. Over the next 12 weeks, we are asking local people to tell us if they agree with the proposals or if not, how they can be improved.
“Having fair electoral boundaries for your council is important. Our review aims to deliver electoral equality for Buckinghamshire voters. This means that each county councillor represents a similar number of people so that everyone’s vote in county council elections is worth roughly the same regardless of where you live.
“We will consider all the submissions we receive whoever they are from and whether your evidence applies to the whole county or just a part of it.“ The Commission has based these proposals on the views expressed to us by local people and organisations and we have an open mind about further suggestions to change and improve them. After all, local people know Buckinghamshire best.
“There are three key factors you should consider when making submissions to us during the consultation. They are the rules, set out in law, which the Commission has to abide by when making our recommendations. Firstly, proposals must ensure electoral equality for voters with each county councillor representing around the same number of electors. Second, the new divisions should – as far as possible – reflect the natural communities of Buckinghamshire. And finally, the proposals should help the council deliver effective and convenient local government.”
The Commission wants to hear as much evidence as possible in order to develop final recommendations for Buckinghamshire County Council. If you would like to make a submission to the Commission, please write or email us by 10 October 2011:The Review Officer (Buckinghamshire) Local Government Boundary Commission for England Layden House 76-86 Turnmill Street London EC1M 5LG Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information contact:
Press Office: 020 7664 8530
Notes to editors:
1.The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is responsible for reviewing local authority electoral arrangements, defining boundaries for local elections and the number of councillors to be elected, as well as conducting reviews of local government external boundaries and structures.
2.The LGBCE is conducting the electoral review of Buckinghamshire as the county currently has significant electoral imbalances. Aylesbury West division, for example, has 21% more electors than the average for the county while Chess Valley has 20% fewer. This means that the value of your vote varies to a large extent depending on where you live in Buckinghamshire. The County Council has also asked the Commission to conduct the review with a view to delivering a pattern of single-member electoral divisions across the county.
3.The types of questions the Commission is asking residents at this stage are:
4.Residents have from 19 July 2011 until 10 October 2011 to have their say about where division boundaries for Buckinghamshire should be drawn. The LGBCE will consider all submissions and aims to publish its final recommendations in January 2012. Once the Commission agrees its final recommendations it will lay a draft order in both Houses of Parliament. Parliament will then have 40 days in which to consider the recommendations. If both Houses are satisfied with the recommendations, the draft order will be ‘made’ and the new electoral divisions will come into effect at the county council elections in May 2013