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Residents in Suffolk are being asked for their views on new county council electoral arrangements. The Boundary Committee today publishes its draft recommendations for proposed changes to provide a better electoral balance. These recommendations are based on locally generated schemes in four of Suffolk's seven districts. Most of the division boundaries in Suffolk are likely to change.
The public consultation period begins today and runs until 8 March 2004. 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 Suffolk are significantly unbalanced. For example, the worst imbalance is in Kesgrave & Martlesham division in Suffolk Coastal, where the councillor represents 81% more electors than the county average, while the councillor for Thingoe South division in St Edmundsbury represent 36% 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 8 March 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 a reduction in council size from 80 to 75 councillors. In Babergh district and St Edmundsbury borough the Committee is putting forward a combination of its own proposals and locally generated proposals. In Mid Suffolk district and Forest Heath district the Committee is basing its proposals entirely on locally generated schemes. In Suffolk Coastal district, Waveney district and Ipswich borough the Committee has formulated its own proposals. The Committee is proposing three two-member divisions in Ipswich, two two-member divisions in St Edmundsbury, two two-member divisions in Suffolk Coastal and five two-member divisions in Waveney.
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 8 March 2004 to: Team Leader (Suffolk), The Boundary Committee for England, Trevelyan House, Great Peter Street, London SW1P 2HW. All representations will be available for inspection, by appointment (including the names and addresses of respondents unless otherwise specified), 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.
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 Committee's website www.boundarycommittee.org.uk. For copyright permission, contact Ordnance Survey's helpline on 023 8030 5092.
2. The present review of Suffolk began on 10 December 2002
3. The Boundary Committee is a statutory committee of The Electoral Commission.