The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking people across Milton Keynes to comment on its draft proposals for new council ward boundaries.
An eight-week public consultation on the recommendations begins today and will end on 18 March 2013. The consultation is open to anyone in Milton Keynes who wants to have their say on new council wards, ward boundaries and ward names across the district.
The Commission’s draft recommendations propose that Milton Keynes Council should have 57 councillors in the future, six more than the current arrangements. The recommendations also outline how those councillors should represent 19 three-member wards across Milton Keynes.
The full recommendations and detailed interactive maps are available on the Commission’s website at consultation.lgbce.org.uk and www.lgbce.org.uk. Hard copies of the Commission’s report and maps will also be available to view at council buildings and libraries.
Max Caller CBE, Chair of the Commission, said: “We are publishing proposals for a new pattern of wards across Milton Keynes and we are keen to hear what local people think of the recommendations.
“Over the next eight weeks, we are asking local people to tell us if they agree with the proposals or if not, how they can be improved.
“Our review aims to deliver electoral equality for local voters. This means that each councillor represents a similar number of people so that everyone’s vote in council elections is worth roughly the same regardless of where you live.
“We also want to ensure that our proposals reflect the interests and identities of local communities across Milton Keynes and that the pattern of wards can help the council deliver effective local government to local people.
“We will consider all the submissions we receive whoever they are from and whether your evidence applies to the whole borough or just part of it.
The Commission wants to hear as much evidence as possible in order to develop final recommendations for Milton Keynes Council. If you would like to make a submission to the Commission, please write or email us by 18 March 2013The Review Officer (Milton Keynes)
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Have your say directly through the Commission’s consultation portal: consultation.lgbce.org.uk
Link to the dedicated web page for the Milton Keynes electoral review: http://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/south-east/buckinghamshire/milton-keynes-fer
For further information contact:
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Notes to editors:
1. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is responsible for reviewing local authority electoral arrangements, defining boundaries for local elections and the number of councillors to be elected, as well as conducting reviews of local government external boundaries and structures.
2. The Commission is carrying out the review because Milton Keynes currently has relatively high levels of electoral inequality where the value of your vote varies, to a significant degree, depending on where you live in Milton Keynes.
3. The types of questions the Commission is asking residents at this stage are:
4. For councils, like Milton Keynes, that hold elections in three years out of every four, the Commission has a responsibility, set out in legislation, to devise a pattern of three-member wards across the whole authority. Such a ward pattern means that every elector would have the same opportunity to vote in local elections each time they are held. However, the Commission is able to move away from a uniform pattern of three-member wards – on a ward by ward basis - if it believes an alternative arrangement would better met its other statutory criteria: to deliver electoral equality for voters, to reflect the interests and identities of local communities and to promote effective and convenient local government.
5. Residents have from 22 January 2013 until 18 March 2013 to have their say about where ward boundaries for Milton Keynes should be drawn. The Commission will consider all submissions and aims to publish its final recommendations in June 2013. Once the Commission agrees its final recommendations it will lay a draft order in both Houses of Parliament. Parliament will then have 40 days in which to consider the recommendations. If both Houses are satisfied with the recommendations, the draft order will be ‘made’ and the new wards will come into effect at the council elections in May 2014.