The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England has published its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for East Hampshire District Council.
Today’s publication follows two phases of public consultation on draft proposals and draws new boundaries for each council ward across East Hampshire.
All but three of East Hampshire’s current council wards will change as a result of the review.
The commission’s final recommendations propose that East Hampshire should be represented by 43 district councillors in the future: one fewer than the current arrangement. The recommendations also propose that those councillors should represent two three-councillor wards, eight two-councillor wards and 21 one-councillor wards across the district.
Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the commission, said, “We are extremely grateful to people across East Hampshire who took part in the review. The commission has looked at all the evidence that was put forward during each stage of consultation.
“We believe these recommendations deliver electoral fairness for voters as well as reflecting community ties throughout East Hampshire.”
In response to local feedback during consultation, the commission has made changes to the proposals it originally put forward in October last year. For example, in Alton, the commission had proposed that the town should be covered by four wards. Two of those wards would have been represented by one councillor each with the other two wards represented by two councillors and three councillors respectively. However, local feedback suggested that seven wards, each to be represented by one councillor, would be a pattern that better reflected community ties in Alton. The commission accepted the arguments put forward for the pattern of seven wards and put the plan forward for an additional phase of consultation earlier this year. In its final recommendations, the commission now confirms seven one-councillor wards for Alton as final.
The commission also received objections to its original proposals in Horndean. For example, the commission had used the A3(M) as a boundary between wards. Local people told the commission that the road does not form a barrier and gave evidence of strong links between communities on either side. In response to the feedback, the commission changed its proposals for Horndean to reflect local views and invited comments on them in a further round of consultation. Following this additional consultation, the commission has changed the proposals to ensure that there is a set of wards that matches the boundary of Horndean parish so that no parts of the town are included in a ward with other parts of East Hampshire. The commission also proposes a Rowlands Castle ward to be represented by one councillor. In its previous proposals, the commission had included Rowlands Castle in a ward with parts of Horndean. The commission believes that the final proposals reflect local community ties and interests.
Full details of the final recommendations and other changes to the draft proposals are available on the commission’s website at www.lgbce.org.uk.
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 (including maps) can be viewed at: https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk/node/9704.