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Cumbria residents: have your say on electoral division boundary recommendations

24th October 2011

Cumbria residents: have your say on electoral division boundary recommendations

25th October 2011

A 12-week public consultation on the recommendations begins today and will end on 16 January 2012. The consultation is open to anyone in Cumbria who wants to have their say on new electoral divisions, division boundaries and division names across the county.

The Commission's draft recommendations propose that Cumbria County Council should have 84 county councillors the same as at present. The proposals would mean those county councillors would represent 84 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 made 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 Cumbria 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 Cumbria's 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 also aim to ensure that the County Council's electoral divisions reflect, as far as possible, the interests and identities of Cumbria's local communities.

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.

We have an open mind about further suggestions to change and improve these draft recommendations. After all, local people know Cumbria 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 Cumbria. 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 Cumbria County Council. If you would like to make a submission to the Commission, please write or email us by 16 January 2012:

The Review Officer (Cumbria)
Local Government Boundary Commission for England
Layden House
76-86 Turnmill Street
London
EC1M 5LG

Or email: reviews@lgbce.org.uk

For further information contact: Press Office: 020 7664 8530

Email: marcus.bowell@lgbce.org.uk

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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 Cumbria because the county currently has significant electoral imbalances. That is not the case at the moment in Cumbria. Dalston and Cummersdale division in Carlisle, for example, has 33% more electors than the average for the county while Moss Bay division in Allerdale has 27% fewer. That represents a major imbalance in the value of people's votes across the county.

3. The types of questions the Commission is asking residents at this stage are:

  • Do the proposed electoral divisions reflect local communities?
  • How do you think the proposals can be improved whilst maintaining electoral equality?
  • Are the names of the proposed divisions right?

4. Residents have from 25 October 2011 until 16 January 2012 to have their say about where division boundaries for Cumbria should be drawn. The Commission will consider all submissions and aims to publish its final recommendations in May 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 divisions will come into effect at the county council elections in May 2013.

5. The electoral review off Cumbria County Council is a separate undertaking from the current review of parliamentary constituency boundaries which is being carried out by a separate body (Boundary Commission for England) under different rules and legislation.