The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking people across Herefordshire to comment on its draft proposals for new electoral arrangements for Herefordshire Council.
An eight-week public consultation on the recommendations begins today and will end on 7 January 2013. The consultation is open to anyone in Herefordshire who wants to have their say on new council wards, ward boundaries and ward names.
The Commission’s draft recommendations propose that Herefordshire Council should have 53 councillors in the future – five fewer than under the current arrangements. The recommendations also outline how those councillors should represent 53 single-member wards across Herefordshire.
The full recommendations and interactive maps are available at consultation.lgbce.org.uk and on the Commission’s website at www.lgbce.org.uk. Hard copies of the Commission’s report and maps will also be available to view at council buildings and libraries.
Max Caller CBE, Chair of the Commission, said: “We are publishing proposals for a new pattern of wards across Herefordshire and we are keen to hear what local people think of the recommendations.
“Over the next eight weeks, we are asking local people to tell us if they agree with the proposals or if not, how they can be improved.
“Our review aims to deliver electoral equality for Herefordshire’s voters. This means that each councillor represents a similar number of people so that everyone’s vote in local elections is worth roughly the same regardless of where you live.
“The Commission proposes that each ward in Herefordshire should be represented by one councillor. We have adopted this pattern of wards because the council passed a resolution which called on us to carry out a review with the aim of delivering single-member wards for whole of Herefordshire.
“We also want to ensure that our proposals reflect the interests and identities of local communities across Herefordshire and that the pattern of wards can help the council deliver effective local government to local people. “We will consider all the submissions we receive whoever they are from and whether your evidence applies to the whole of Herefordshire or just a part of it.”
Please write or email us by 7 January 2013:
The Review Officer (Herefordshire)
Local Government Boundary Commission for England
76-86 Turnmill Street
London EC1M 5LG
Have your say directly through the Commission’s consultation portal: consultation.lgbce.org.uk
Link to the dedicated web page for the Herefordshire electoral review: www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/west-midlands/herefordshire/herefordshire-fer
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 of Herefordshire Council to deliver electoral equality for voters in local elections. The aim of the review is to recommend ward boundaries that mean each councillor represents approximately the same number of electors. As it draws up new electoral arrangements for an authority, the Commission must also have regard to the interests and identities of local communities as well as ensuring that the new electoral arrangement promote effective and convenient local government.
3. The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 allows local authorities to request the Commission to carry out an electoral review with the aim of providing single-member wards across the whole authority. The council has asked the Commission to carry out the review with a view to delivering single-member wards across Herefordshire hence the pattern put forward by the Commission in its draft recommendations. The Commission will only move away from that pattern of wards where an alternative arrangement would better meet its statutory criteria, namely: to deliver electoral equality, to reflect the interests and identities of local communities and/or deliver effective and convenient local government.
4. The types of questions the Commission is asking residents at this stage are:
5. Residents have from 13 November 2012 until 7 January 2013 to have their say about where ward boundaries for Herefordshire should be drawn. The Commission will consider all submissions and aims to publish its final recommendations in spring 2013. 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 wards will come into effect at the council elections in May 2015.
For further information:
Press Office: 020 7664 8530/8534