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Local electoral arrangements for Somerset finalised

25th June 2012

Local electoral arrangements for Somerset finalised

26th June 2012

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

Today’s publication follows a seven-week public consultation on its draft proposals and draws new boundaries for each electoral division in Somerset.

The Commission’s final recommendations propose that Somerset’s 55 county councillors, three fewer than under the current arrangements, should represent 53 single-member divisions and one two-member division.

The Commission’s final report makes some changes to its draft proposals as a result of the feedback gathered from local people and organisations.

Max Caller, Chair of the Commission, said, “We’re extremely grateful to the people of 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.

“In response to the views submitted to us during the consultation, we are proposing some changes to the recommendations we put forward in February.

“For example, we are proposing to alter the draft recommendations we made in the Wellington area of Taunton Deane. Our final recommendations propose to include the areas of Tonedale and Rockwell Green in a Wellington division as there are clearly strong community ties between them.

“We have also made changes to our proposed Blackdown & Neroche division so that it covers a smaller geographic area whilst delivering electoral equality for voters.

“Elsewhere in Somerset we’ve listened to the views expressed to us and made further changes to the draft recommendations. In South Somerset, for example, we are now proposing a single-member Brympton division alongside a single-member Yeovil West division instead of our original proposal for a two-member division in the area.

“We have also made changes to some of the names of the proposed divisions and made minor amendments to some boundaries where we received high quality evidence.

“Across Somerset, 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, namely to deliver electoral equality for voters as well as reflecting the interests of communities across the county and promoting effective local government.”

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 county council elections in 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. Full details of the Commission’s final recommendations (including maps) can be viewed at http://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/south-west/somerset/somerset-county-council-fer .

3. The electoral review of Somerset 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.