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Number of Preston councillors likely to be slashed

Posted on - 28th March, 2017 - 5:00am | Author - | Posted in - News, Politics, Preston Council
The sun may set on how Preston's political boundaries currently look Pic: Sonia Bashir
The sun may set on how Preston’s political boundaries currently look Pic: Sonia Bashir

Preston’s political boundaries are set to be re-drawn on a very local level.

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With the city facing a change in how it elects an MP there’s also a proposal to slash the number of councillors.

A new pattern of ward boundaries would see nine fewer councillors than there are now.

The Local Government Boundary Commission has come up with a total of 48 councillors for the city.

It says the ward boundaries need to be changed so each councillor represents roughly the same number of voters.

Chair of the commission Professor Colin Mellors said: “We are asking local people and organisations to help us draw up new wards for Preston. As we develop the recommendations, we will take into account local community identities as well as ensuring electoral equality for voters.

“If you have a view about which communities or neighbourhoods should be part of the same council ward, then we want to hear from you. And if you think a road, river or railway makes for a strong boundary between communities in your part of Preston, then this consultation is for you. Alternatively, if you’re simply interested in the way the city is run, just log on to our website to explore our interactive maps and have your say.

“Your views will make a difference. We will carefully consider all evidence that is provided during this phase of the review whoever it is from and whether it applies to the whole of Preston or just a small part of the city.

“Residents will then have a further chance to have their say after we publish our draft recommendations in September.”

Read more: What Prestonians think about proposed new parliamentary boundaries

What the politicians say

Leader of the city council, Labour councillor Peter Rankin, said: “The Commission has agreed to the Council’s proposal to reduce the size of the Council from 57 members to 48. The Labour Group will now be putting forward its proposals for ward boundaries in the next few weeks.

“These will then be put to the Council and if agreed will then be submitted to the Boundaries Commission.”

Lib Dem councillor for Cadley, John Potter, said: “We welcome the decision even if we had wanted to see the number of councillors reduced to the 42 mark.

“The Liberal Democrats were the party in Preston who have been fighting to this change, regularly writing to the boundary commission to highlight the problems Preston faced. We even put forward a Notice of Motion forward a few years ago. Labour and the Conservatives (with exception of 1 Tory Cllr) may have rejected our motion but we knew it was only a matter of time before the boundary commission recognised the ward unfairnesses that the other parties were happy to accept until forced to change.

“We also believed its only fair that when the size of Preston city council as an organisation has shrank considerably then its councillors should reflex that as well. How could it be right that councillors are immune to any of the cuts that every other department has had to endure.”

Greyfriars councillor Damien Moore, deputy leader of the Conservative group, said: “We welcome the reduction in the number of councillors. What is of the utmost importance now,  is that ward boundaries are drawn to reflect the identities of local communities. The views of residents really matter and these must be taken into account before decisions are made.”

How you can give your view

You can see interactive maps of the existing ward boundaries on the commission’s website.

Preston residents have until 5 June to submit their views by emailing reviews@lgbce.org.uk.

What do you think the city’s political wards should be? Let us know your views in the comments below

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