Wealden could lose ten district councillors in boundary review

Wealden District Council
Wealden District Council

Wealden District Council could lose ten of its 55 councillors in a boundary review.

The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is asking residents for their input as it draws up new boundaries for East Sussex’s district and borough councils as well as those of the county council.

As part of the review the commission has also announced the number of future councillors for each local authority and current proposals would see the amount of councillors at Wealden reduced from 55 to 45.

Charles Lant, chief executive of Wealden District Council, said: “Wealden has worked closely with the other districts and boroughs, as well as with East Sussex County Council as part of the process of this consultation and we welcome the recommendations of the Boundary Commission.

“Whilst the council would have preferred a reduction to 42 councillors, 45 is acceptable when considering the other objectives of the review to achieve a more logical arrangement with the county divisions.

“Our elected councillors will now consider the implications of the recommendations with a view to making further proposals on ward boundaries.”

WDC’s Full Council agreed in July to recommend that the council’s size reduce to 42, or 45 if the number of Wealden county councillors increased to 15.

Currently the district has 14 county councillors across 11 divisions, but since ESCC is proposing to eliminate two-member divisions, this could change from 2017.

An officers’ report argued that ‘effective local government is best achieved where boundaries between the tiers are coterminus. Split electoral areas increases the challenges involved in creating and maintaining

local relationships’.

In drawing up new boundaries the commission’s primary goal is to deliver electoral equality across all divisions as well as ensuring the new wards and divisions ‘reflect the interests and identities of communities across East Sussex’.

Max Caller, chair of the commission, said: “We are asking local people and organisations to help us draw up new ward and division boundaries across East Sussex.

“We are looking for evidence about local community identities and ties that will help us build district wards and electoral divisions throughout the county. We want to make sure that wards and divisions across the county are fair, mean something to voters and can help local councils deliver effective local government.

“Your views will make a difference.

“We will carefully consider all evidence that is provided during this phase of the review whoever it is from and whether it applies to the whole of East Sussex or just a small part of the county.

“We will publish all the submissions on our website so that local people can see all the various proposals we receive. Residents will then have a further chance to have their say after we publish our draft recommendations for the whole county in March 2016.”

Any changes would apply to Wealden District Council’s next elections in May 2019.

The consultation runs until November 30. For more information visit http://consultation.lgbce.org.uk//node/6011

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