Conservative members of Canterbury City Council have stepped back from making a formal proposal to the Boundary Commission about planned new ward boundaries across the district.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking for people’s views on the subject. Following a six-week public consultation, the commission announced it may recommend the council has 38 councillors in the future, 12 fewer than the current arrangements.
The organisation now needs information from people and groups across the district to help it to produce a new pattern of wards to accommodate the 38 councillors. In drawing up new boundaries, the commission aims for each councillor to represent roughly the same number of voters.
Canterbury council leader John Gilbey said:
“It is essential the setting of new boundaries doesn’t lead to accusations of gerrymandering or voter manipulation by the council. After discussions with colleagues, I have taken the view the council itself should step back and let the Boundary Commission decide the new wards based on its own studies and after giving detailed consideration to the opinions of any individual, group and parish council.”
On the decision the cut 12 council members, Cllr Gilbey said:
“I am thankful to the Boundary Commission for their considered approach in considering whether the number of councillors should be reduced to 38. This was not a request we made without giving a lot of thought. but we felt it was unfair on local taxpayers to make them pay their hard-earned cash on sustaining 50 councillors at the possible expense of crucial services many cherish.”
People have until December 10th 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 Residents will have a further chance to have their say after the commission publishes its draft recommendations in March next year.
HB Times 10th October 2013