The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) has published its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for Surrey County Council.
Today’s publication follows a 12-week public consultation on its draft proposals and draws new boundaries for each electoral division in Surrey. The draft recommendations, published in July 2011, provided for a council of 81 county councillors (one more than the current arrangements) and the Commission today confirms that figure in its final recommendations.
The Commission’s final report also confirms a pattern of 81 single-member electoral divisions across the county.
Professor Colin Mellors, Deputy Chair of the Commission, said, “We’re extremely grateful to the people of Surrey 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 July.
“For example, our final recommendations move away from the draft recommendation to split the Weston Green community between two electoral divisions. Instead, we are proposing that the whole area should be included in The Dittons division. During the consultation phase of the review, we received very strong evidence from local people about the community identity and interests of the Weston Green area which has persuaded us to change the draft recommendations.
“In Surrey Heath, we are also proposing to move away from the draft recommendations by ensuring that the parish of Chobham is not split between divisions as previously proposed. Instead, the whole parish will be included in the Bagshot, Windlesham & Chobham division.
“In Tandridge we received strong evidence of community identity from parishes and local residents to persuade us that the parish of Crowhurst should be included in the Lingfield division rather than Oxted and that the parish of Tandridge should be part of Oxted division rather than Godstone.
“Across the whole 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, namely to deliver electoral equality for voters as well as reflecting the interests of communities across the county and promoting effective local government. “Overall, our recommendations for Surrey 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 Surrey.”
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
3. Full details of the Commission’s final recommendations (including maps) can be viewed at www.lgbce.org.uk .
4. The electoral review of Surrey 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.