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Local electoral arrangements for Oxfordshire finalised

16th January 2012

Local electoral arrangements for Oxfordshire finalised

17th January 2012

The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) has published its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for Oxfordshire County Council.

Today’s publication follows a 12-week public consultation on its draft proposals and draws new boundaries for each electoral division in Oxfordshire. The draft recommendations, published in July 2011, provided for a council of 63 county councillors (a reduction of eleven compared to the current arrangements) and the Commission today confirms that figure in its final recommendations.

The Commission’s final report also confirms a pattern of 59 single-member and two two-member electoral divisions across the county.

Max Caller, Chair of the Commission, said, “We’re extremely grateful to the people of Oxfordshire 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 proposals we put forward in July.

“In South Oxfordshire, we were presented with compelling evidence to include the Winterbrook area in the Wallingford division rather than the Benson division as previously proposed. We have therefore made that change as part of our final recommendations.

“In Vale of White Horse, we have also proposed different electoral arrangements for the parish of Cumnor as a result of the views put to us so that the parish would have a Cumnor Hill parish ward.

“Similarly, we’ve made changes to division boundaries so that the parish of St Helen Without is no longer split between divisions and is included – in whole – in the Sutton Courtenay & Marcham division.

“In the City of Oxford, we’ve made a number of minor amendments to our draft recommendations to reflect more detailed mapping that was submitted to us during consultation as well as making a small boundary change to ensure that the whole of the Cutteslowe estate is included in St Margaret’s division.

“Overall, our recommendations for Oxfordshire will deliver electoral equality for voters across the county where the value of your vote is similar regardless of where you live in the county. We also believe that our final recommendations reflect, as far as possible, the identities and interests of local communities across Oxfordshire.”

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.

Ends

For further information contact the Commission’s press office on: 0207 664 8530 or email: press@lgbce.org.uk

Notes to editors:

1. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is responsible for reviewing local authority electoral arrangements, e.g. defining boundaries for local elections and the number of councillors to be elected and – separately - for conducting reviews of local government external boundaries and structure.

2. In its final recommendations, the Commission is proposing some changes to the draft recommendations it published in July 2011 in response to its consultation with local people and organisations:

  • In Oxford City, the Commission has made a number of minor amendments to boundaries to reflect more detailed mapping provided to it during consultation. The Commission has also agreed a small amendment to the boundary between St Margaret’s division and Wolvercote & Summertown division so that the Cutteslowe estate is included - in whole - in the St Margaret’s division rather than being split as was previously proposed.
  • In South Oxfordshire District, the Commission agreed with submissions made to it that the Winterbrook area should be included in the Wallingford division rather than the Benson division.
  • Similarly, the Commission has decided to re-name the Benson division as Benson & Cholsey division to reflect to communities included within it.
  • In Vale of White Horse District, the Commission received opposition to its proposal for a Kingston & Cumnor division. Whilst the Commission considered the arguments put forward for a two-member division, such an arrangement would lead to a large division containing communities with few shared interests and poor transport links. Instead, the Commission’s final recommendations propose altering the parish wards within the parish of Cumnor to create a Cumnor Hill parish ward.
  • The Commission also received representations arguing in favour of the whole of the parish of St Helen Without to be included in one division. The Commission has been able to alter the boundary between Kingston & Cumnor division and Sutton Courtenay & Marcham division to achieve that aim.
  • In West Oxfordshire District, the Commission accepted that the District Council’s proposal for a Burford & Carterton North division and a Carterton South & West division provides a good reflection of local community identities as well as high levels of electoral equality for voters.

More details about the Commission’s final recommendations are available in its formal report on its website which explains, in greater detail, where the Commission has considered all the submissions made to it and where it has, and has not, been able to take up those suggestions.

3. Full details of the Commission’s final recommendations (including maps) can be viewed at www.lgbce.org.uk .

4. The electoral review of Oxfordshire 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.