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PROPOSALS FOR ELECTORAL ARRANGEMENTS IN SUFFOLK - COUNCIL 'DISAPPOINTED'

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Final plans for new electoral arrangements in Suffolk are being submitted to The Electoral Commission today (availa...
Final plans for new electoral arrangements in Suffolk are being submitted to The Electoral Commission today (available here). The recommendations from The Boundary Committee for England mark the end of a review which began in December 2002. They include changes to division boundaries across the area.

Pamela Gordon, chair of the committee said: In January 2004, an eight-week period of public consultation on the draft recommendations began. The responses lead to some changes to our original proposals. The aim of the review has been to ensure that, as far as possible, one persons vote should have the same value as anothers. The improvements in electoral equality we are recommending today meet that objective without disrupting community interests.

The Electoral Commission is now responsible for deciding the outcome of the committee's recommendations and all further correspondence should be addressed to The Secretary, The Electoral Commission, Trevelyan House, Great Peter Street, London SW1P 2HW.

The committee confirms its draft recommendations as final, subject to some modifications. In Ipswich borough, we are proposing to rename our proposed University division St Helens. In the districts of Mid Suffolk and Suffolk Coastal, we propose renaming four and two of our proposed divisions, respectively. In Waveney district, we are proposing amendments to five of our proposed divisions. We are confirming as final our proposal for a council size of 75 members, five fewer than at present. Suffolk would contain 63 divisions, 17 fewer than at present. The boundaries of all divisions, except Bixley, would be subject to change.

Notes

Map 1illustrates the proposed electoral divisions for East Sussex, including constituent district wards and parishes.

Map 2illustrates the proposed divisions in Newhaven in Lewes district.

Draft recommendations, published on 13 January 2004.

Map 1illustrates the proposed electoral divisions for Newhaven, in Lewes district.

Large map 1illustrates in outline form the proposed divisions for East Sussex, including constituent district wards and parishes.

The Boundary Committee is a statutory committee of The Electoral Commission

Press release from Suffolk CC follows:

Reaction to Boundary Committee's final recommendations for Suffolk

Suffolk CC has today been notified of the Boundary Committee's final recommendations for electoral arrangements in Suffolk.

The final recommendations are for a reduction in the number of county councillors to 75 and for several wards to be represented by two councillors.

David Rowe, Labour deputy leader of Suffolk CC said: 'I am disappointed in these recommendations. The purpose of this review was to iron out some of the discrepancies in the size of wards and ensure that everyone has the same representation on the county council, regardless of where they live.

'However, they actually create several large differences in the areas that county councillors would represent. For example, the largest division a councillor represents has around 3,000 more people than the smallest.

'The recommendations also include several 'dual-member' divisions where two councillors cover a much larger area than previously. We have concerns over the impact of this and believe it will lead to greater workload with councillors having to try and meet the needs of a much larger community. I am not sure this will be workable.

'We will now have to study the detail of the recommendations and consider the next appropriate step.'

Peter Monk, Liberal Democrat deputy leader of Suffolk CC, added: 'These recommendations could have an adverse affect on community identity with changes in boundaries putting some people in with communities with no geographic similarities - for example small sections of towns being in the same ward as nearby villages.

'There are growing demands on councillors, and much of the government's move towards modernising local government involves councillors getting closer to the communities they serve.

'I feel that the recommendations do not seem to help local democracy in the way they were supposed to and do not help to secure the most effective representation for the people of Suffolk.'

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