Local electoral arrangements for Durham County Council finalised
The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) has published its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for Durham County Council. Today’s publication completes the review which first began in 2008.
The publication of final recommendations follows a 10-week public consultation on the Commission’s further draft proposals and draws new boundaries for each electoral division in County Durham.
The Commission’s draft recommendations proposed a council size of 126 councillors for Durham County Council and the final recommendations confirm that figure. The final report recommends accommodating those councillors in a pattern of 11 single-member divisions, 41 two-member divisions and 11 three-member divisions across the county.
Max Caller CBE, Chair of the Commission, said, “We’re extremely grateful to the people of County Durham who took the time and effort to send us their views. The Commission considered every piece of evidence it received before finalising these recommendations.
“In response to the views submitted to us during the consultation, we are proposing some changes to the further draft proposals we put forward in May 2011. In Crook, for example, we are proposing to move away from our previous recommendations to split the town between two electoral divisions. Instead, we are now recommending to unite Crook town in a three-member division with the outlying villages that look towards it. Such a change has also allowed us to propose a single-member Tow Law division and a two-member Esh & Witton Gilbert division: an arrangement which responds to many of the views local people and organisations expressed to us during consultation.
“A new three-member Deerness division is also proposed comprising the parishes of Bearpark and Hedleyhope with the settlements of Ushaw Moor and Esh Winning, along with the Hamsteels estate, as a result of the submission made to us by the County Council.
“We are also proposing to move away from our previous proposals to link Sacriston with Langley Park and Witton Gilbert in a single division. Due to the strength of the evidence presented to us by the County Council and others, we are now proposing a two-member division linking Sacriston parish and Kimblesworth and Plawsworth parish with the settlement of Edmondsley.
“Our recommendations for Durham County Council will deliver electoral equality for voters across the county where the value of your vote is similar regardless of where you live in County Durham. We also believe that our final recommendations reflect, as far as possible, the identities and interests of local communities across the county.”
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 next few months. The draft Order provides for the new electoral arrangements to come into force at the next county council elections in May 2013.
For further information contact the Commission’s press office on: 0207 664 8530 or email: email@example.com
Notes to editors:
1. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is responsible for reviewing local authority electoral arrangements, namely defining boundaries for local elections and the number of councillors to be elected. Separately, the Commission is responsible for conducting reviews of local government external boundaries and structure.
2. Full details of the Commission’s final recommendations (including detailed maps) can be viewed at www.lgbce.org.uk .
3. As a result of compelling evidence provided by local groups, individuals and organisations, the Commission is proposing some alterations to its further draft recommendations published in May 2011:
- The Commission is recommending that Crook is no longer split between two electoral divisions and proposes a three-member Crook division (including the villages of High Grange, North Bitchburn and Helmington Row) alongside a two-member Willington & Hunwick division.
- The Commission has altered its further draft recommendations to include a single-member Tow Law division as opposed to the two-member division previously proposed.
- In the north of the City of Durham, the Commission is proposing a minor amendment to its draft recommendations by including the whole of the Aykley Vale residential area in the Framwellgate & Newton Hall division.
- The Commission has also been able to respond positively to proposals to include the parishes of Cornsay, Satley, Witton Gilbert and Esh in a single Esh & Witton Gilbert division.
- A three-member Deerness division is now proposed to include the parishes of Bearpark and Hedleyhope as well as the settlements of Ushaw Moor and Esh Winning, together with the Hamsteels estate, which the Commission believes would produce better community links than previous proposals.
- To the south of Durham City, the Commission is proposing a minor amendment to its previous proposals so that the Cape Site residential development is included in Coxhoe division as it clearly forms part of Bowburn village.
- In Chester-le-Street, the Commission has decided to retain its previous proposal for three single-member divisions for the north and east of the town, despite submissions suggesting a three-member division instead. The Commission believes that three single-member divisions better reflect the distinct characteristics of communities in Chester-le-Street, South Pelaw and North Lodge.
- The Commission agreed with submissions presented to it arguing that Sacriston and Langley Park do not share strong community ties. As a result of those views and proposed changes to surrounding divisions, the Commission is recommending a two-member Sacriston division comprising Sacriston Parish, Kimblesworth & Plawsworth Parish and Edmondsley parish ward.
- In other parts of County Durham, and where the Commission received submissions in favour of its further draft recommendations, it is proposing to confirm those recommendations as final.
4. The electoral review of Durham County Council is a separate undertaking from the current review of parliamentary constituency boundaries which is being carried out by a separate body (Boundary Commission for England) under different rules and legislation.