Proposals finalised for East Devon ward boundaries
PUBLISHED: 12:48 13 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:48 13 June 2017
Concerns about constituent representation in single-member town council wards in the Sid Valley have failed to influence a review.
The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) has published its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for East Devon District Council (EDDC).
It also proposed a shake-up of the Sidmouth Town Council wards which said that, due to population changes, the Sidbury, East and West wards should have only one councillor each – they all currently have two. It proposed the South ward should have as many as five councillors. It currently has three.
Town councillors said single-member wards have pitfalls if that representative becomes unwell or falls out with a constituent, and argued it restricts mentoring new councillors.
But the LGBCE report said: “We have no obligation under legislation to ensure electoral equality for parish and town councils; however, our precedent is to seek to provide electoral arrangements that reflect effective and convenient local government for the areas we review.
“Therefore, we are not able to maintain a similar allocation of parish councillors for Sidmouth and confirm our draft recommendations as final.”
The LGBCE’s proposals for EDDC allocate one councillor to the Sidmouth Rural ward, two to Sidmouth Town and three to Sidmouth Sidford. The ward boundaries have shifted slightly and the overall number of councillors for the Sid Valley will fall from seven to six.
The total number of councillors across East Devon is set to increase by one to 60.
The commission’s chairman, Professor Colin Mellors, said, “We are extremely grateful to people across East Devon who took part in the review. The commission has looked at all the evidence that was put forward during the consultation.
“We believe these recommendations deliver electoral fairness for voters as well as reflecting community ties throughout East Devon.”
The proposed new arrangements must now be implemented by Parliament.
A draft Order – the legal document which brings into force the recommendations – will be laid in Parliament in the coming months. The draft Order provides for the new electoral arrangements to come into force at the council elections in 2019.
Full details of the commission’s final recommendations are available at www.lgbce.org.uk.