The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England has published its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for North Somerset Council.
Today’s publication follows two phases of public consultation on draft proposals and draws new boundaries for each council ward across the council area.
The Commission’s final recommendations propose that North Somerset should be represented by 50 councillors in the future, eleven fewer than the current arrangements. The recommendations also propose that those councillors should represent twenty single-member wards and fifteen two-member wards across the council area.
Max Caller, Chair of the Commission, said, “We are extremely grateful to the people of North Somerset 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 district, 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 across North Somerset.”
In light of feedback received during the public consultation, the Commission proposes to alter the recommendations it put forward in February. In particular, the Commission is reverting to the recommendations it originally put forward for the rural parts of North Somerset last year.
During previous phases of consultation, the Commission presented two options for a pattern of wards in the rural parts of North Somerset. The original option was for a pattern of seven single-member wards and two two-member wards to cover areas outside Weston-Super-Mare and Portishead. The Commission then put forward an alternative proposal for a pattern of larger rural wards, including a three-member Churchill & Wrington ward to cover much of the southern part of the district alongside four two-member wards.
In response to the evidence received during consultation, the Commission has opted to recommend the original draft recommendations as its final proposals. The Commission believes the original pattern of smaller rural wards provides a better reflection of local community identities and will help the council to deliver more effective local government than the alternative recommendations it put forward.
Elsewhere in the district, the Commission has made minor amendments to some of the boundaries it previously proposed in Clevedon, Portishead and Nailsea to reflect local views expressed during consultation.
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 2015.
For further information contact the Commission’s press office on: 0207 664 8530/8534 or email: email@example.com
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