19 Apr 2018
Local groups, town and parish councils and the public have been thanked for their help in shaping proposals for the ward boundaries for the new West Suffolk Council.
Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council will meet on 24 and 25 April to approve various options that will be sent for consideration by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE).
The LGBCE having considered all the options makes the final decision on the proposal to go forward and will hold a further consultation on its own proposals over the summer. Residents and organisations will have another opportunity to provide feedback during their consultation.
To help the LGBCE with their process the Council has held two periods of engagement to shape possible options that have also been considered by a cross party group of Councillors from both councils.
Government has backed proposals to replace the two present authorities with a new West Suffolk Council, and the order to create the new Council is due to be debated in parliament later this month.
New council wards for the West Suffolk Council need to be created as the suggested number of councillors will reduce, in line with the LGBCE’s guidance, from 72 to 64.
Suggestions and information from a range of people, organisations and councillors have helped shape various proposals being put in front of both full councils.
The new wards will not affect either the external boundaries of West Suffolk or of any parish or town council. Current parish and town council boundaries are used as the building blocks to create the district-level wards which will result in an electorate of around 2,000 people for every councillor.
Councillor Carol Bull, St Edmundsbury Borough and Councillor Ruth Bowman, Forest Heath District, Chair and Vice-Chair of the of the Future Governance Steering Group, in a joint statement said: “One of the things we thought was crucial in creating this new council was that there should continue to be good local representation across West Suffolk. The views and engagement by local people and organisations as well as from councillors themselves has been vital in helping shape the various proposals and options that both Councils will look at. We and the steering group would like to thank all those who took part and the time people have taken to look at this important but complex issue.
“Ultimately the decision is with the Local Government Boundary Commission for England who may have their own ideas and suggestions. We wanted to put forward something that not only meets the guidelines but has had local input to help the LGBCE’s deliberations. We recognise there is no perfect solution and we would urge people to submit their own proposals for the LGBCE to consider as part of their review.”