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Following the completion of the local government review in Lancashire, The Boundary Committee is today re-launching its draft recommendations on changes to electoral arrangements for Lancashire County Council.
The consultation on draft recommendations for Lancashire County Council was halted last year, following the start of the Local Government Review ahead of the referendums on regional assemblies, due to be held in the autumn. The Committee was asked to recommend at least two options for a single level of local government, known as unitary authorities, in areas where there are currently both district and county councils. If electors vote against regional assemblies in the autumn, the Government has said that no unitary authorities will be established and the two-tier structure will remain. For this reason, the Committee is now resuming a review of the existing electoral arrangements for Lancashire County Council.
Residents in Lancashire are being asked for their views on the proposed electoral arrangements, based on locally generated schemes, to provide a better electoral balance. Most of the division boundaries in Lancashire are likely to change.
The public consultation period begins today and runs until 12 July 2004. The Committee will take into account all representations received by this date when it submits its final recommendations to The Electoral Commission. The Committee may change some or all of the proposals, depending on the responses it receives during this public consultation period. It is therefore important that members of the public let the Committee have their views, whether or not they agree with the draft recommendations.
Commenting on the proposals, the Committees Chairman, Pamela Gordon, says: At present, the electoral arrangements across Lancashire are significantly unbalanced. For example, the worst imbalance is in Chorley Rural North in Chorley, where the councillor represents 77% more electors than the county average, while the councillor for Accrington Central in Hyndburn represents 40% fewer electors than the county average.
The aim of our review is to ensure that, as far as possible within each county, each persons vote should have the same value as anothers, without disrupting community identities. We are consulting until 12 July 2004 and I hope that all those affected by our proposals will tell us what they think about them.
The Committee recommends that there should be an increase in council size from 78 to 84 councillors. In Hyndburn and Lancaster City the Committee is putting forward a combination of its own proposals and locally generated proposals. In Chorley the Committee is basing its proposals entirely on local schemes.
Copies of the report are available from the Committees website at www.boundarycommittee.org.uk or by writing to the Committee, and will be available for reference at council offices and in public libraries.
Anyone wishing to make representations to the Committee on its draft recommendations should do so in writing no later than 12 July 2004 to: Team Leader (Lancashire), The Boundary Committee for England, Trevelyan House, Great Peter Street, London SW1P 2HW. All representations will be available for inspection, by appointment, at the Committees offices and copies will be available at the offices of the relevant local authority. A list of respondents is also available on request from the Committee.
Elise Cross on 020 7271 0530 or Gemma Crosland on 020 7271 0527
Out of office hours 07789 920 414, Fax: 020 7271 0528
Notes to editors:
1. PDFs of maps are available on The Boundary Committees website www.boundarycommittee.org.uk. For copyright permission, contact Ordnance Surveys helpline on 023 8030 5092.
2. The present review of local government electoral arrangements in Lancashire began on 9 July 2002. The draft recommendations were published on 28 May 2003 and suspended on 17 June following the Governments announcement about recommendations for regional assemblies and the start of the Local Government Review.
3. The Final Recommendations for the local government review of the North West were published on 25 May 2004. A referendum will be held later this year. In the event of a no vote in a referendum on an elected regional assembly, the Government has said there will be no local government restructuring.
4. The Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Act 2003, paving the way for referendums on elected regional assemblies, was introduced to Parliament in November 2002 and received Royal Assent in May 2003.
5. The Boundary Committee is a statutory committee of The Electoral Commission.