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 West Devon Borough Council.
Following a six-week public consultation, the Commission has also announced that it is minded to recommend that the council should have 31 councillors in the future, the same as the current arrangements.
The Commission now needs information from people and groups across West Devon to help it to produce a new pattern of wards to accommodate 31 councillors.
In drawing up new boundaries, the Commission aims to deliver electoral equality for 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 the borough.
Max Caller, Chair of the Commission, said: “The starting point of an electoral review is for the Commission to take a view on the number of councillors who should represent the authority in future. On the evidence presented to the Commission, we are minded to recommend that West Devon Borough Council should have 31 councillors in future, the same as the current set up.
“We are now asking local people and organisations to help us draw up new wards for the borough. As we develop the recommendations, we will take into account local community identities as well as ensuring electoral equality for voters.
“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 borough or just a small part of it.”
Local people have until 3 February 2014 to submit their views. Further information on the review and interactive maps of the existing wards can be found at consultation.lgbce.org.uk and www.lgbce.org.uk.
Residents will have a further chance to have their say after the Commission publishes its draft recommendations in April 2014.ends
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 26 November 2013 to 3 February 2014 to have their say about where ward boundaries for West Devon Borough Council’s 31 councillors should be drawn. The Commission will then publish its draft recommendations in April 2014 and open a further phase of consultation with local people. New wards are scheduled to come into effect at the 2015 local elections.
5. The Commission’s decision on council size means it is ‘minded’ to recommend 31 borough councillors for West Devon Borough Council but is not legally bound by that number in its final recommendations and depending on the evidence submitted to it during consultation.
6. Members of the public can have their say on the new ward arrangements by writing to:The Review Officer (West Devon) Local Government Boundary Commission for England Layden House 76-86 Turnmill Street London EC1M 5LG
Follow the Commission on Twitter: @LGBCE
Go directly to the Commission’s consultation portal, use the Commission’s interactive mapping and draw your own boundaries online at: consultation.lgbce.org.uk
Link to dedicated web page for the West Devon electoral review at: www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/south-west/devon/west-devon-fer
For further information contact the Commission’s press office on: 0207 664 8530/8534 or email: email@example.com