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Local electoral arrangements for Surrey finalised

16th January 2012

Local electoral arrangements for Surrey finalised

17th January 2012

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.

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:

  • The Commission has decided to move away from its recommendation to divide the area of Weston Green between two divisions as proposed in draft recommendations. Given the strength of the evidence received, which cited community interests and identity, it now proposes that the area should be wholly located in The Dittons division.
  • In Elmbridge, the Commission has also modified the draft recommendations so that the area to the South of The Dittons is incorporated into the Hinchley Wood, Claygate & Oxshott division rather than The Dittons.
  • In Epsom and Ewell Borough, the Commission is proposing that the area including Windmill Avenue, Park Hill Road, Langton Avenue and Hampton Grove should be part of the Ewell division.
  • In Surrey Heath Borough, the Commission received compelling evidence relating to community interest which has persuaded it to move away from its draft recommendations for Chobham Parish. The final recommendations propose that the whole parish of Chobham should be included in the Bagshot, Windlesham & Chobham division.
  • In Tandridge District, the Commission received a significant number of submissions objecting to the parish of Crowhurst forming part of the Oxted division. As a result of the strength of evidence presented to it, they are now proposing - as part of the final recommendations - that Crowhurst Parish should be included in the Lingfield division.
  • The draft recommendations in Tandridge District also recommended splitting the parish of Whyteleafe between the Warlingham and Caterham Valley divisions. As a result of the submissions received during consultation, the Commission has decided to move away from those recommendations and propose that Whyteleafe is now united in the Caterham Valley division.
  • In addition, we have agreed that the parish of Tandridge should be part of the Oxted division as opposed to being included in the Godstone division.
  • In Woking Borough, the Commission has modified the draft recommendations so that they now correspond to Surrey County Council’s original proposal for a Goldsworth East and Horsell division. Given the fact that the County Council’s proposal provides for better electoral equality and the Commission received some further evidence from local people who cited community interests, the Commission has opted to depart from our draft recommendations in this area.
  • In other parts of the county, the Commission makes further modifications to its draft recommendations which are explained in more detail in the full report. In some parts of Surrey, the Commission received a large number of submissions but decided not to modify the draft proposals.
  • In Reigate & Banstead Borough, the Commission received a large number of submissions opposing its recommendation to include Lower Kingswood in the Merstham & Banstead South division. Whilst the Commission sought an alternative pattern of divisions in this area, the proposals put to us would either deliver extremely poor levels of electoral equality for voters or would result in splitting the community of Lower Kingswood. The Commission has therefore decided to confirm the draft recommendations for this area as final.
  • Similarly, in Mole Valley District, the strong boundaries to the north, east and west of Leatherhead and the lack of electoral equality inherent in alternative proposals, means that it confirms its draft recommendations as final for the Givons Grove and Tyrell’s Wood area which would be part of the Dorking Hills division.

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.