The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking people across West Dorset district to comment on its draft proposals for new council ward boundaries.
An eleven-week public consultation on the recommendations begins today and will end on 28 April 2014. The consultation is open to anyone who wants to have their say on new council wards, ward boundaries and ward names across the district.
The Commissions draft recommendations propose that West Dorset District Council should have 42 councillors in the future, six fewer than the current arrangements. The recommendations also outline how those councillors should represent four three-member, 10 two-member and 10 single-member wards across the district.
The full recommendations and detailed interactive maps are available on the Commissions website at consultation.lgbce.org.uk and www.lgbce.org.uk. Hard copies of the Commissions 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 West Dorset and we are keen to hear what local people think of the recommendations.
Over the next eleven 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 everyones 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 the district 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 district or just part of it.
The Commission wants to hear as much evidence as possible in order to develop final recommendations for West Dorset District Council. If you would like to make a submission to the Commission, please write or email us by 28 April 2014:The Review Officer (West Dorset) Local Government Boundary Commission for England Layden House 76-86 Turnmill Street London EC1M 5LG
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Have your say directly through the Commissions consultation portal: consultation.lgbce.org.uk
Link to the dedicated web page for the West Dorset electoral review:
For further information contact:
Press Office: 020 7664 8530/8534
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 a review of West Dorset district to deliver electoral equality for voters in local elections. The district currently has relatively high levels of electoral inequality where some councillors represent significantly more, or fewer, voters than other members of the council. For example, Dorchester North ward contains 26% more electors than the average for district but Yetminster ward contains 19% fewer. The situation means that the value of your vote varies depending on where you live in West Dorset district.
3. The types of questions the Commission is asking residents at this stage are: a. Do the proposed wards reflect local communities? b. How do you think the proposals can be improved whilst maintaining electoral equality? c. Are the names of the proposed wards right?
4. Residents have from 12 February until 28 April 2014 to have their say about where ward boundaries for West Dorset should be drawn. The Commission will consider all submissions and aims to publish its final recommendations in July 2014. 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 â€˜madeâ€™ and the new wards will come into effect at the council elections in May 2015.