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Residents in Essex are being asked for their views on new local electoral arrangements. The Boundary Committee today publishes its draft recommendations for proposed changes, based on locally generated schemes, to provide a better electoral balance. Most of the division boundaries in Essex are likely to change.
The public consultation period begins today and runs until 6 Oct 2003. The Committee will take into account all representations received by this date when it produces its final recommendations to submit to The Electoral Commission. The Committee may change some or all of the proposals, depending on the responses it receives during the 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 Committee's Chairman, Pamela Gordon, says: 'At present, the electoral arrangements across Essex are significantly unbalanced. For example, the worst imbalance is in Springfield in Chelmsford borough where the councillor represents 65% more electors than the county average, while the councillor for Hadleigh in Castle Point borough represents 32% fewer electors than the county average.'
'The aim of our review is to ensure that, as far as possible within each county, each person's vote should have the same value as another's, without disrupting community identities. We are consulting until 6 October 2003 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 reduction in council size from 79 to 75 councillors. In Basildon and Harlow the Committee is putting forward a combination of its own proposals and locally generated proposals. In Brentwood, Epping Forest, Maldon and Rochford the Committee is basing its proposals entirely on local schemes. In Braintree, Castle Point, Chelmsford and Colchester the Committee is basing its draft recommendations on locally generated schemes with amendments in Castle Point and Chelmsford to improve electoral equality and in Colchester to reflect community identities. The Committee is basing its proposals on locally generated schemes in Tendring and Uttlesford with minor amendments to provide stronger boundaries. The Committee is proposing four two-member divisions in Basildon, two two-member divisions in Chelmsford and one two-member division in Harlow.
Copies of the report are available from the Committee's 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 6 October 2003 to: Team Leader (Essex), The Boundary Committee for England, Trevelyan House, Great Peter Street, London SW1P 2HW. All representations will be available for inspection, by appointment, at the Committee's 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.
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 Committee's website. For copyright permission, contact Ordnance Survey's helpline on 023 8030 5092.
2. The present review of Essex began on 6 August 2002
3. The Boundary Committee is a statutory committee of The Electoral Commission.