The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England has published its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for Dorset County Council.
Today’s publication follows an eight-week public consultation on its draft proposals and draws new boundaries for each county electoral division across Dorset.
The Commission’s final recommendations propose that Dorset should be represented by 46 county councillors in the future: one more than the current arrangement. The recommendations also propose that those councillors should represent 34 single-member electoral divisions and six two-member electoral divisions across the county.
Max Caller, Chair of the Commission, said, “We are extremely grateful to people across Dorset 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 county, 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 Dorset.”
In response to representations made to it on the draft recommendations, the Commission has made changes to the draft proposals it originally put forward for consultation in May. In Purbeck, the Commission received persuasive evidence to move away from its recommendation to divide Wareham between electoral divisions. Instead, the Commission has altered its proposals so that the town is wholly included in a Wareham division.
Elsewhere, in West Dorset, the Commission received local objections to its proposal to divide Bridport between two electoral divisions. As a result of the evidence presented to it, the Commission has decided to change its recommendation so that the whole of Bridport is included in a two-member division to avoid dividing communities.
Elsewhere in Dorset, the Commission has also changed its recommendations in light of evidence provided by local people and groups. The final recommendations propose that the parish of Turnworth should part of the Winterborne division and not the Blackmore Vale division as originally proposed. Local evidence suggested stronger community ties between Turnworth and Winterborne than Blackmore Vale so the Commission has altered its recommendation to reflect those views.
Similarly, the Commission has changed its recommendations so that the parish of Buckland Newton is part of the Three Valleys division and not Sherborne Rural division as previously proposed.
In North Dorset, the Commission has also made an amendment to its proposed Blandford Forum electoral division in response to local views. The final recommendations include the Bryanston Park area in the Blandford Forum division whilst the Badbury Heights area becomes part of the Hambledon division.
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 county council elections in 2017.
For further information contact the Commission’s press office on: 0330 500 1250 / 1525 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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