Commission unveils plans for new councillor numbers as West Northants electoral review moves forwardCouncillors and democracy
30 August 2022
The number of West Northamptonshire unitary councillors is set to change from 93 to 77 at the next local elections in 2025 under proposals announced today by The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE).
The recommendation by the Commission signals the end of the first stage of a planned review of electoral arrangements for West Northamptonshire Council, with residents now encouraged to get involved in the next phase by having their say on how the authority’s voter wards should be shaped around the proposed new number of councillors.
The LGBCE launches its public consultation today and will start with a ‘blank map’ of the West Northamptonshire Council area, asking people to give their views on how the electoral wards should be drawn up.
The consultation runs until 7 November and people can get involved by giving their views on the LGBCE’s website where they will also find useful guidance and maps of the current wards, via email at [email protected] or by post, by writing to the West Northamptonshire Review Officer at: LGBCE, PO Box 133, Blyth, NE24 9FE.
The last electoral review in Northamptonshire took place in 2013 and WNC’s current electoral arrangements are based on those of the previous county council, with 93 councillors serving across 31 wards.
The proposal to reduce the number of WNC councillors by 16 reflects recommendations made by the Council to the LGBCE in June this year to ensure the democratic needs of residents are served as effectively as possible.
Councillor Suresh Patel, Chairman of the Council’s Democracy Standards Committee and the Local Boundary Review Working Group said: “We welcome the Commission’s proposal, which is in line with our own cross-party assessment of the right number of councillors we believe we need to effectively represent communities, deliver council business and provide efficient governance.
"This is the first opportunity in almost a decade to review the electoral arrangements for West Northamptonshire so it’s great news that we’re now moving on to the next stage, and a real chance for our residents and communities to now get involved and help shape our future electoral wards.
"It’s so important that we get the best outcome possible for West Northamptonshire from the Commission’s review so I would encourage as many people as possible to join in the consultation and have their say on these new arrangements, which will lie at the heart of the local democratic process."
The LGBCE consultation, which runs from today until 7 November, is asking residents, local groups and organisations, as well as the Council itself, to suggest how the new ward boundaries should be drawn up by providing evidence such as community interactions, geographical features and local circumstances.
The review is expected to end in late 2023, once the LGBCE has made its recommendations to government and an Order is laid in Parliament to change the legislation and make the new electoral arrangements.