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Residents in Kent 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 Kent 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 Kent are significantly unbalanced. For example, the worst imbalance is in Maidstone Rural North in Maidstone where the councillor represents 43% more electors than the county average while in Tunbridge Wells East in Tunbridge Wells the councillor represents 27% 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 the overall number of councillors for Kent remains the same at 84. In Gravesham, Swale, Thanet and Tunbridge Wells the Committee is putting forward a combination of its own proposals and locally generated proposals. In Tonbridge & Malling the Committee is basing its proposals entirely on a local scheme. In Shepway the Committee proposes to retain the existing divisions. In the districts of Ashford, Canterbury, Dartford, Dover, Maidstone and Sevenoaks the Committee is basing its proposals on locally generated schemes subject to a number of amendments. The Committee is proposing two two-member divisions in Canterbury, two two-member divisions in Dover, two two-member divisions in Gravesham, one two-member division in Maidstone, one two-member division in Thanet, one two-member division in Tonbridge and Malling and one two-member division in Tunbridge Wells.
Copies of the report are available from the Committee's website 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 (Kent), 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 www.boundarycommittee.org.uk. For copyright permission, contact Ordnance Survey's helpline on 023 8030 5092.
2. The present review of Kent began on 6 August 2002.
3. The Boundary Committee is a statutory committee of The Electoral Commission.