The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England has published its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for West Sussex County Council.
Today’s publication follows two phases of public consultation on its draft proposals and draws new boundaries for each county electoral division across West Sussex.
The Commission’s final recommendations propose that West Sussex should be represented by 70 county councillors in the future: one fewer than the current arrangement. The recommendations also propose that those councillors should represent 70 single-member electoral divisions across the county.
Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said, “We are extremely grateful to people across West Sussex 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 West Sussex.”
In response to representations made to it during consultation, the Commission has made changes to the draft proposals it originally put forward for consultation in December 2015. For example, in Chichester, the Commission proposes several minor changes to the boundaries it put forward for the town last year so that the divisions provide a better reflection of community identities as well as delivering electoral fairness for voters.
In Arun district, the Commission has listened to local views and proposes to amend the boundary between Littlehampton Town and Arundel & Wick division so that the area to the south of the A259 remains with the town. Local evidence presented to it during consultation persuaded the Commission that the new boundary provided a better reflection of community identities in this part of the district. Due to local feedback, the Commission also proposes to re-name Arundel & Wick division as Arundel & Courtwick.
In Crawley, the Commission carried out an additional phase of consultation on its proposals in May. It has now confirmed that the electoral division covering the Three Bridges area should include areas on both sides of the railway line as this would provide better level of electoral equality for voters in the long term as well as reflecting the shared interests of residents on the eastern and western sides.
In Horsham, the Commission’s original recommendations had divided the parish of Nuthurst between two electoral divisions. Having listened to local views, the Commission’s final proposals mean the parish will be wholly contained in Southwater & Nuthurst division.
In Hayward’s Heath, the Commission has amended its pattern of electoral divisions so that the parish of Lindfield Rural is included in the Lindfield & High Weald division. Local people had contacted the Commission during the public consultation to object to the original proposal to divide the parish between divisions. The Commission has listened to those local views and amended its plans so that the pattern of divisions in the area largely mirrors the current arrangements.
Elsewhere in the county, the Commission proposes other minor changes to its draft recommendations such as changes to the names of some electoral divisions in light of suggestions put to it during the public consultation.
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: email@example.com
Notes to editors: