The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England has published its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for the London Borough of Bexley.
Today’s publication follows three phases of public consultation over the past year and draws new boundaries for each council ward across Bexley.
The Commission’s final recommendations propose that Bexley should be represented by 45 councillors in the future: eighteen fewer than the current arrangement. The recommendations also propose that those councillors should represent eleven three-member wards and six two-member wards across the borough.
Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said, “We are extremely grateful to people across Bexley who took the time and effort to send us their views. The Commission considered every piece of evidence it received before finalising these recommendations.
“Across the borough, we have sought to balance the views expressed to us by local people with the criteria we must apply when we are deciding on new electoral arrangements. As such, we believe these recommendations deliver electoral equality for voters as well as reflecting the identities of communities in Bexley.”
The Commission has listened to local feedback on the proposals it originally published in February and has made changes its recommendations to reflect those views. For example, the Commission’s original draft proposals recommended combining Erith and Slade Green in one ward. Following local feedback and an extra phase of consultation, the Commission proposes a single ward for Erith to be represented by two councillors.
Local people and organisations also told the Commission during consultation that its recommendation for a Northumberland Heath ward that stretched almost to the river was not an accurate reflection of community ties. The Commission has therefore amended its proposals for a Northumberland Heath ward that is smaller than the original proposal and provides a more recognisable boundary with Erith.
In the north east of the borough, the Commission now proposes a Slade Green & Northend ward as a better reflection of community identity than its previous proposal to combine Slade Green and Erith. The Commission’s draft proposals had also proposed to combine communities in Northend with the Barnehurst area. However, in response to public feedback, Barnehurst is now included as its own ward to be represented by two councillors.
Elsehwere in Bexley, the Commission received submissions that suggested that its proposed Crook Log and Brampton wards contained communities that shared local ties and interests and that they should not be divided between wards. The Commission has therefore changed its recommendations to combine the two areas into a single Crook Log ward to be represented by three councillors.
In a similar way, local people and organisations contacted the Commission during the consultation phase to suggest that the proposed Belvedere Village and Lower Belvedere wards were a single community that should not be divided between council wards. The Commission has amended its recommendations and now recommends a single Belvedere ward, represented by three councillors, to cover both areas.
In the south of the borough, the Commission has made a small adjustment to its proposals so that the shops at Wellington Parade are included in the Blackfen & Lamorbey ward rather than the Blendon & Penhill ward as previously proposed. Respondents told the Commission that this boundary would better reflect local identities and interactions in that part of Bexley.
As well as further minor changes to the recommendations, the Commission has also responded positively to suggestions for amending the names of some its proposed wards. As such, Bostall ward is renamed West Heath and the proposed Christchurch ward becomes Bexleyheath.
Full details of the final recommendations are available on the Commission’s website at www.lgbce.org.uk.
The proposed new arrangements must now be implemented by Parliament. A draft order – the legal document which brings into force the recommendations – will be laid in Parliament in the coming months. The draft Order provides for the new electoral arrangements to come into force at the council elections in 2018.
For further information contact the Commission’s press office on: 0330 500 1250/1525 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors: