The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking people across Swale to comment on its draft proposals for new electoral arrangements for Swale Borough Council.
A ten-week public consultation on the recommendations begins today and will end on 8 June 2012. The consultation is open to anyone in Swale who wants to have their say on new council wards, ward boundaries and ward names across the borough.
The Commission's draft recommendations propose that Swale Borough Council should have 47 borough councillors in the future. The recommendations also outline how those councillors should represent five single-member, 15 two-member and four three-member wards across the borough.
The full recommendations and detailed maps are available on the Commission's website at www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/south-east/kent/swale-electoral-review. Hard copies of the Commission's report and maps will also be available to view at council buildings and libraries.
Professor Colin Mellors, Deputy Chair of the Commission, said: "We are publishing proposals for a new pattern of wards across Swale borough and we are keen to hear what local people think of the recommendations.
"Over the next ten 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 Swale's voters. This means that each borough councillor represents a similar number of people so that everyone's vote in borough 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 Swale 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 a part of it.
"Our draft recommendations are based on evidence presented to us by the council, political groups and our own views on the best electoral arrangements for the borough. We have an open mind about further suggestions from local people to change and improve these recommendations.
The Commission wants to hear as much evidence as possible in order to develop final recommendations for Swale Borough Council. If you would like to make a submission to the Commission, please write or email us by 8 June 2012:The Review Officer (Swale) Local Government Boundary Commission for England Layden House 76-86 Turnmill Street London EC1M 5LG Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information contact: Press Office: 020 7664 8530 email@example.com/
1. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) 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 Swale currently has relatively high levels of electoral inequality. Iwade & Lower Halstow ward, for example, has 47% more electors than the average for Swale while Sheerness East ward has 18% fewer. Overall this means that local people's votes are worth different amounts depending on where they live in the borough.
3. The types of questions the Commission is asking residents at this stage are:
4. Residents have from 2 April until 8 June 2012 to have their say about where ward boundaries for Swale should be drawn. The Commission will consider all submissions and aims to publish its final recommendations in August 2012. 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 2015.