The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England has opened a new phase of public consultation in its review of North Somerset Councils ward boundaries.
Local people have until 7 April to have their say on new proposals for ward boundaries in the rural parts of the district.
Last year, the Commission held a public consultation on proposals for new ward boundaries across North Somerset. The Commission has listened to the views put to it during consultation and now proposes to make changes to the plans to reflect local evidence. Due to the significance of the proposed changes in the rural parts of the district, the Commission is re-opening its consultation with local people to see what they think of the new recommendations.
The consultation is limited to the Commissions new proposals in the North and East of the district. Details of the recommendations, including maps of the proposals, are available on the Commissions website at www.lgbce.org.uk or at the dedicated review page for the electoral review of North Somerset at www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/south-west/somerset/north-somerset-fer.
North of the district
In its draft recommendations for the North of the district, the Commission had proposed four single-member wards called: Gordano Valley, Long Ashton, Pill and Winford. In response to views expressed to it during public consultation, the Commission now recommends a pattern of three two-member wards called: Gordano & Wraxall, Long Ashton and Pill & Easton-in-Gordano. In particular, the new recommendations avoid dividing the parish of Pill & Easton-in-Gordano between wards.
Central and eastern parts of the district
In the central and eastern parts of the district, the Commission had proposed a pattern of three single-member wards called: Blagdon & Churchill, Congresbury & Puxton and Wrington alongside a two-member Yatton ward. Following feedback during consultation, the Commission now proposes a three-member Churchill & Wrington ward alongside the two-member Yatton ward.
In the rest of the district, the Commission plans to confirm its draft recommendations as final without substantial amendments.
Max Caller, Chair of the Commission, said: We listened carefully to all the views put to us last year and have made changes to the original recommendations. We are now asking local people to have their say on the revised proposals.
There were some strong arguments made to us by local people that an alternative pattern of wards in the rural parts of North Somerset might better reflect local community interests and identities. That is why we are now putting these recommendations forward for consultation.
We are asking local people to log on to our website to tell us what they think about these proposals before we publish final recommendations in June.
Residents can have their say in writing:The Review Officer (North Somerset) 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 8530/8534
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 Commission is carrying out an electoral review of North Somerset to deliver electoral equality for voters in local elections. The district currently has relatively high levels of electoral inequality where some councillors represent significantly more, or fewer, than other member of the council. For example, Portishead East ward has 68% more voters in it than the average for the district. The situation means that the value of your vote varies depending on where you live in North Somerset.
3. Residents have from 12 February 2014 until 7 April 2014 to have their say about the new proposals. The Commission will consider all submissions and aims to publish its final recommendations on 17 June 2014. 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 council elections in 2015.