Proposals for fewer councillors in Preston and which wards will be in the city have been confirmed.Advertisement
The Electoral Commission has tabled its final recommendation on how the city’s political boundaries are being re-drawn.
Preston City Council is to move to the new areas for the local elections in 2019.
The number of councillors representing Preston falls from 57 to 48.
Sixteen wards make up the boundary of the city and each of these will be represented by three councillors.
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The Commission has been consulting on changes to the city’s boundaries for the last year with a number of different options tabled by political parties and members of the public.
Chair of the Commission Professor Colin Mellors said: “We are extremely grateful to people across Preston who took part in the review. The Commission has looked at all the evidence that was put forward during the consultation.
“We believe these recommendations deliver electoral fairness for voters as well as reflecting community ties throughout Preston.”
Two of the ward names have been changed from its initial proposals.
Tulketh will be renamed as Cadley ward and Moor Park ward becomes Plungington ward.
The Commission says it has also re-drawn the boundary between the City Centre ward and the Fishwick and Frenchwood ward so the area between Bushell Place and Berwick Road will be part of the City Centre ward.
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An all-out election is due to be conducted in Preston during May 2019 when the new wards come in, with all councillors having to stand for re-election based on the new ward boundaries.
Acting leader of Preston City Council and the city’s Labour group councillor Robert Boswell said: “I am delighted the Commission has supported the recommendations of Preston Council.
“They represented a fair and equitable solution which protects communities and reflects population spread. I am sure this is a sound basis to move forward.”
Leader of the Preston Conservatives group councillor Neil Cartwright said: “The new pattern of wards are a welcome and much needed change from the previous system, which were grossly unfair and led to a form of geographical inequality amongst voters on polling day. Prior to the review, residents living in more central wards had a much greater say in who governed the city when compared to Fulwood and those living in rural areas.”
“Preston Labour Party had attempted to unnecessarily politicise the process by carving up communities and local identity. I’m delighted to say, however, that owing to Conservative efforts on Preston Council the vast majority of their recommendations were dismissed by the Commission.
“The rebalancing of electoral equality by the Commission could now see a significant power change in both the council and city, and I suspect many of those sitting on the Labour benches will be disappointed with the outcome of the review, as many look set to lose their seats.”
Cadley councillor John Potter said on behalf of the Preston Lib Dems: “welcome the changes to Preston City Council’s make up. This is the end of a very long campaign by our local party to reduce the number of councillors in Preston and to more fairness into local elections.
“After council motions, numerous budget amendments and many letters we were delighted that the Independent Local Boundary Commission agreed with us that the number of councillors should reduce and that the electorate be spread more evenly. With years of cuts to council departments and services the public rely on day to day, it is only right that councillors also have to tighten their belts.
“It was shocking how some councillors represented 50 per cent less residents than others, thankfully that is now about to change.
“Changing boundaries is a thankless task for the commission because someone, somewhere won’t like everything suggested. We had some concerns over the changes to some wards such as Ingol, which split existing communities however, we believe that on balance the changes can benefit the whole city.”
You can see the full proposals on the Commission’s website.
What do you think of the Commission’s decision and the new ward boundaries? Let us know in the comments below