The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is reopening a public consultation on council ward boundaries across West Berkshire.
The consultation is the first part of an electoral review which will re-draw ward boundaries across West Berkshire.
The Commission has also confirmed that the council should have 42 councillors in the future: ten fewer than the current arrangements.
The first phase of the review started in January and asked local people and organisations for information to help the Commission to produce a new pattern of wards to accommodate 42 councillors.
Since the start of the previous consultation, new information was presented to the Commission about likely population changes in the future. The Commission has therefore changed the electorate data upon which the review is built and is inviting people to submit their views on the warding patterns on the basis of this up-to-date information.
All information on voter numbers, maps and guidance are available on the Commission’s website at www.lgbce.org.uk.
Anyone who responded in the last phase of consultation can make a new submission. All the submissions received during the previous stage will also be considered.
In drawing up new boundaries, the Commission aims to deliver electoral equality for voters in council elections so that each councillor represents roughly the same number of voters. The review also aims to ensure that the new council wards reflect, as far as possible, the interests and identities of communities across West Berkshire.
Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said: “We are asking for help from local people and groups to draw up new ward boundaries across West Berkshire.
“If you have a view about which communities and neighbourhoods should be part of the same council ward, then we want to hear from you. Or if you think a river or a road make for a strong, recognisable boundary, please get in touch.
“The Commission will look at every piece of evidence from local people on community ties and recognisable boundaries between areas in West Berkshire before we draw up draft recommendations in August.
“Your views will make a difference.
We will look at all evidence you send to us whether it applies to the whole of West Berkshire or just a small part of the council area”.
Local people have until 10 July 2017 to submit their views. Further information on the review and interactive maps of the existing wards can be found at consultation.lgbce.org.uk and www.lgbce.org.uk.
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 aim of an electoral review is to provide for ‘electoral equality’; that means each councillor representing approximately the same number of electors. The Commission must also have regard to community identity and interests and providing effective and convenient local government.
3. The Commission has a legal duty to consider likely changes in the number of voters across West Berkshire five years after the end of the review. This means that new ward boundaries will be fit for purpose in the long-term and contain the right number of voters so that each local councillor represents roughly the same number of electors. The Commission’s forecasts and other relevant information is available on its website.
4. The types of questions the Commission is asking residents at this stage are:
· Do you have suggestions about where your ward boundaries should be?
· Which areas do you identify as your local community?
· Where do people in your area go to access local facilities such as shops and leisure activities?
5. Residents have from 13 June until 10 July 2017 to have their say about where ward boundaries for West Berkshire’s 42 councillors should be drawn. The Commission will then publish its draft recommendations in August 2017 and open a further phase of consultation with local people. New wards are scheduled to come into effect at the 2019 council elections.
6. Members of the public can have their say on the new electoral arrangements by writing to:
The Review Officer (West Berkshire)
14th floor, Millbank Tower
London SW1P 4QP
Follow the Commission on Twitter: @LGBCE
Go directly to the Commission’s consultation portal at: consultation.lgbce.org.uk
Find out more on our website at: www.lgbce.org.uk
For further information contact the Commission’s press office on: 0330 500 1250 / 1525 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org