Resort comes out fighting
PUBLISHED: 15:41 09 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 March 2010
COUNCILLORS in Felixstowe have lost their battle against controversial moves by the boundary commission to cut their numbers.
COUNCILLORS in Felixstowe have lost their battle against controversial moves by the boundary commission to cut
A furious row erupted when the plan was announced earlier this year with
government officials saying the town was over-represented.
Labour and Conservative councillors feared if there were less of them it would make their fight for the rights of the resort even harder and opposed the scheme put forward by The Local Government Commission for England.
They were also angry at Liberal Democrat colleagues who supported the commissioners and accused them of
"selling Felixstowe down the river".
Now the commission has unveiled its final scheme – and is pressing ahead with the move to cut the number of town and district councillors at the resort.
The only way the scheme can be stopped is if government ministers agreed not to implement the change. Suffolk Coastal District and Felixstowe Town councils have until August 6 to make their views known.
A report to Suffolk Coastal's policy and resources committee on Thursday , July 12, says the commission has
examined the objections but feels the number of district councillors in Felixstowe should be cut from 12 to 11.
The council will still have 55
councillors, but these should represent 34 wards instead of 42.
Felixstowe will lose its central ward, and the town council will have 17
members instead of 18 in future.
The town and district councils had put forward an alternative scheme for a 56 member district council, retaining six wards returning 12 councillors.
The commission said it has looked at population forecasts for the seaside town and it currently only merited 11.5
councillors and in five years' time 11.2.
"Therefore, the district council's
proposal would result in an
over-representation in Felixstowe, an area which is unlikely to experience any
significant growth in electorate in the near future," said the commission.
"As we seek to recommend warding arrangements which will improve over time, we consider that Felixstowe should be represented by 11 councillors.
"We continue to believe that our
warding arrangements for Felixstowe
provide the best balance between
electoral equality and the statutory
Town councillors may well decide to make representations to the government over the issue. For many years they have had to fight tooth and nail for the resort at the rural district.