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Councillors to be cut by a quarter

That’s a quarter OF them,
not OFF them.


Here’s an attack on local democracy that will damage
not just Herne Bay, but the whole district.

Reducing the number of councillors from 50 to 38 is
not something that the public have been clamouring for – it was initiated by,
and is being driven by, CCC’s Conservative administration. More accurately, the
Executive. Which means Cllr John Gilbey.

The publicly stated reason for this is to save money.
Cllr Peter Lee has said that the current 50 councillors cost about £450k
a year, so this would potentially save about £112k.

Fewer representatives and less representation to save
£112k. And this from the people who frittered £60k on the disastrous Westgate
Towers traffic scheme
, and peed away over £50k fighting the village green
application for the Downs
, and regularly give £20k to the Sandwich Open golf
beano, and so on, and so on.

We already have one of the highest ratios of residents
to councillors, and this reduction in the number of councillors would push it
even higher. And that’s without taking into account the extra 40,000 or so new
residents that would move in to the district to fill all the new homes proposed
in the draft Local Plan, which would push the ratio higher still.

When this was discussed in Council, one of the
councillors argued that the reduction in numbers would result in an improvement
in quality of councillors. I can’t believe these people are so naive! This will
not be a careful culling exercise where the sub-prime and lacklustre are shown
the door, leaving only the shining stars. Come election time, the public will
still choose a mixed bag of useful and useless, daft and deft, lions and
donkeys. But there will fewer of them.

Each councillor – and this is a part-time job,
remember – would have significantly more people to represent. This will inevitably damage our local democracy.

I’m sorry to say this is another example of Cllr
Gilbey’s anti-democratic – and in my view morally repugnant – instincts. He
operates what is amusingly referred to in his job description as the
“strong leader” management style, and is much happier with the
Executive/cabinet model rather than the more democratic Committee structure we
used to have.

Reducing the number of councillors would suit him down
to the ground, as it would concentrate power in even fewer hands. 

The consultation runs from
25th June to 6th August. Please 
take the time to contact the Boundary Commission and let them know what you
think – it would be years, possibly decades, before we would have a chance to undo

I don’t want fewer councillors, I want better


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The independent Local
Government Boundary Commission for England is asking local people how
many councillors they think should represent Canterbury City Council in
the future after proposing chopping 12 from the current structure.

six-week public consultation is the first part of an electoral review
which will also consider changes to the number, names and boundaries of
the council’s wards. It follows hot on the heels of a proposed shake-up at Shepway District Council which is suggesting a reduction of 16 councillors.

commission has considered evidence submitted to it by the council and
is now consulting residents on a proposal that would see the authority
represented by 38 councillors in future, 12 fewer than the current

Max Caller, chair of the commission, said:

“This is your chance to shape your council for the future. We
are asking people across Canterbury whether they agree that 38
councillors is the right number to represent their area in the future. We
want to know if you think 38 is the right number of councillors to be
able to take decisions effectively and whether it’s the right number to
represent the interests of all Canterbury’s communities.

you don’t agree that Canterbury should be represented by 38
councillors, we want you to tell us your alternative and why you think
there should be more, or fewer, members of the council in the future. Once
we have taken a view on the number of councillors, we will re-draw ward
boundaries to accommodate those elected members and we will ask local
people to have their say during that process as well.”

Residents can have their say directly at consultation.lgbce.org.uk

kentnews.co.uk 25th Jun 2013

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