The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking local people for their help to draw up a new pattern of council wards for Ashford Borough Council.
The consultation is the first part of an electoral review which will re-draw ward boundaries across the borough.
The Commission has also announced that it is minded to recommend that the council should have 47 borough councillors in the future: four more than the current arrangements.
The Commission now needs information from people and groups across Ashford to help it to produce a new pattern of wards to accommodate 47 councillors.
In drawing up new boundaries, the Commission aims to deliver electoral equality for voters in council elections so that each councillor represents roughly the same number of voters. The review also aims to ensure that the new council wards reflect, as far as possible, the interests and identities of communities across Ashford.
Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said: “We are asking local people and organisations to help us draw up new wards for Ashford. As we develop the recommendations, we will take into account local community identities as well as ensuring electoral equality for voters.
“If you have a view about which communities or neighbourhoods should be part of the same council ward, then we want to hear from you. And if you think a road, river or railway makes for a strong boundary between communities in your part of Ashford, then this consultation is for you. Alternatively, if you’re simply interested in the way the borough is run, just log on to our website to explore our interactive maps and have your say.
“Your views will make a difference.
“We will carefully consider all evidence that is provided during this phase of the review whoever it is from and whether it applies to the whole of Ashford or just a small part of the borough.
“Residents will then have a further chance to have their say after we publish our draft recommendations in November.”
Local people have until 5 September 2016 to submit their views. Further information on the review and interactive maps of the existing wards can be found at www.consultation.lgbce.org.uk and www.lgbce.org.uk.
Notes to editors:
1. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England 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 aim of an electoral review is to provide for ‘electoral equality’; that means each councillor representing approximately the same number of electors. The Commission must also have regard to community identity and interests and providing effective and convenient local government.
3. The types of questions the Commission is asking residents at this stage are:
· Do you have suggestions about where your ward boundaries should be?
· Which areas do you identify as your local community?
· Where do people in your area go to access local facilities such as shops and leisure activities?
4. Residents have from 28 June until 5 September 2016 to have their say about where ward boundaries for Ashford’s 47 councillors should be drawn. The Commission will then publish its draft recommendations in November 2016 and open a further phase of consultation with local people. New wards are scheduled to come into effect at the 2019 council elections.
5. Members of the public can have their say on the new electoral arrangements by writing to:
The Review Officer (Ashford)
14th floor, Millbank Tower
London SW1P 4QP
Follow the Commission on Twitter: @LGBCE
Go directly to the Commission’s consultation portal at: www.consultation.lgbce.org.uk
Find out more on our website at: www.lgbce.org.uk
For further information contact the Commission’s press office on: 0330 500 1250 / 1525 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org