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Local views sought on the number of councillors for Lancaster

27th April 2012

Local views sought on the number of councillors for Lancaster

1st May 2012

The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking local people how many councillors they think should represent Lancaster City Council in the future.

The six-week public consultation is the first part of an electoral review which will also consider changes to the number, names and boundaries of all the council’s wards.

The Commission has considered evidence submitted to it by the City Council and is now consulting local people on a range of options. They want to hear from local people whether Lancaster should continue to have 60 councillors in the future or whether that number should be reduced to 50 or 40 councillors. Max Caller, Chair of the Commission, said: “This is your chance to shape your council for the future.

“We are asking people across Lancaster how many councillors they think should represent their council.

“The council currently has 60 councillors. We want to know if local people think that’s still the right number or whether it could be reduced to 50 or 40 councillors while still allowing the council to run services effectively and represent communities successfully.

“We want to hear evidence from local people about the possible impact of reducing the size of the council to 50 or 40 members on the council’s decision making processes and the representational role of local councillors in their communities.

“We also want to hear people’s views about the current arrangements. Is 60 councillors still the right number for the council? If you think the size of the council should stay the same, we’re keen to hear your reasons for that before we take any decisions on this important issue.

“Once we’ve taken a view on the number of councillors for Lancaster, we will redraw ward boundaries to accommodate those elected members and we’ll be asking local people to have their say during that process as well.”

The current phase of consultation closes on 11 June 2012. Once it has considered the evidence provided by local people and organisations, the Commission will publish its proposal on the total number of councillors in July 2012 and then begin to gather information from local people and organisations on new ward boundaries across the Lancaster.

The Commission aims to publish its draft recommendations for a new pattern of wards for Lancaster in early 2013 when it will consult local people again for eight weeks. Final recommendations are due to be published later in 2013 and the new electoral arrangements would come into effect for the council elections in 2014.

Further information on electoral reviews and guidance on what sort of information the Commission is looking for, log on to our website at www.lgbce.org.uk

To have your say, please write to:

The Review Officer (Lancaster)
Local Government Boundary Commission for England
Layden House
76-86 Turnmill Street
London
EC1M 5LG

Or email: reviews@lgbce.org.uk

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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 is responsible for reviewing local authority electoral arrangements e.g. defining boundaries for local elections and the number of councillors to be elected. The Commission also carries out reviews of the external boundaries of local authorities and their structure.

2. The Commission is carrying out an electoral review of Lancaster to deliver electoral equality for voters in local elections. The aim of the review is to recommend ward boundaries that mean each councillor represents approximately the same number of electors. Furthermore, as it draws up new electoral arrangements for an authority, the Commission must also have regard to the interests and identities of local communities as well as ensuring that the new electoral arrangements promote effective and convenient local government.

3. In this phase of consultation, the Commission is asking local people to consider whether Lancaster should retain 60 councillors or whether 50 or 40 members would better promote effective and convenient local government. In coming to a conclusion on council size, the Commission is also asking people to consider the following types of questions:

• What do you think is the right number of councillors for Lancaster? Please give reasons for your view.
• If the size of the council were to reduce, how do you consider the performance of the council might be affected? Please give details.
• How do you believe the interests of the diverse areas of Lancaster (city, coast, and rural) would be affected if the council size were to fall to 50 or 40? Please give details. Further guidance on responding to our consultations is also available on the website www.lgbce.org.uk.

4. You can find the evidence presented to the Commission so far at: www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/north-west/lancashire/lancaster-fer

5. The electoral review of Lancaster 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.