Electoral changes 'disappointing'

PROPOSED changes to the electoral map of Suffolk have been met with diasppointment from the county council today.Suffolk County Council has today been notified of the Boundary Committee's final recommendations for electoral arrangements in Suffolk.

PROPOSED changes to the electoral map of Suffolk have been met with diasppointment from the county council today.

Suffolk County Council 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, five fewer than present, and for several wards to be represented by two councillors.

David Rowe, Labour deputy leader of the council, said: "I am disappointed in these recommendations.


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"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.

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"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 the council, 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.

"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."

The recommendations from The Boundary Committee for England mark the end of a review which began in December 2002.

The Electoral Commission is now responsible for deciding the outcome of the Committee's recommendations

Pamela Gordon, chair of the committee, said: "The aim of the review has been to ensure that, as far as possible, one person's vote should have the same value as another's."

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