This is your chance to have your say about how many Councillors Mid Suffolk District Council should have and which villages and parishes they should represent.
A few months ago Mid Suffolk District Council asked the Local Government Boundary Commission to come to Suffolk to review the electoral boundaries used for electing Mid Suffolk District Councillors. At that point, the council had already decided that they wanted to reduce the number of Councillors from 40 to 34.
Babergh District Council, which runs all their services jointly with Mid Suffolk District Council, is also undergoing a boundary review. They plan to reduce the number Councillors they have from 43 to 31. Both Councils state that this would make them more efficient. Assuming this goes forward, it would mean that both Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils would have approximately the same number of electors for each Councillor, making any future amalgamation much easier, though no doubt, the opportunity to reduce costs is also a factor.
The Local Government Boundary Commission has looked at the situation and has produced some draft proposals that it wants the public to comment on. Their basic remit is to produce electoral wards with roughly the same number of electors for each council seat.
The closing date for public comments is the 11th of December – so if you do want to say something, you had better be quick. Details about how to do this are at the end of this article.
They are proposing to change the boundaries for the wards used to elect Mid Suffolk District Councillors, reducing the overall number of Councillors from 40 to 34.
Obviously the new proposals cover the whole district and include changes such as Occold becoming part of the Eye Electoral Ward, along with many other major alterations.
However, looking specifically at how this affects us: Currently the parishes of Athelington, Horham and Redlingfield are in the Hoxne Ward, alongside the other parishes of Syleham, Wingfield, Hoxne and Denham. Currently there are 1,727 registered electors in the Hoxne Ward. We have one District Councillor Elizabeth Gibson Harries.
The new proposal is to create a larger Electoral Ward, called Hoxne and Worlingworth, by adding the parishes of Worlingworth, Southolt, Bedingfield, Bedfield and Tannington whilst removing the parishes of Syleham and Wingfield (they would move to the Fressingfield Ward). Overall, on present numbers, this will create an electoral ward with 2,550 registered electors (projected to rise to 2,565 by 2023, an increase of 15 electors over the next 6-7 years) and there would be one District Councillor for the ward.
Physically this will be a very large ward. The questions you should be asking yourself are: Do I agree with reducing the number of District Councillors? Should there be more or less Councillors? Is the proposed number of electors too many for one Councillor? Is the proposed area too big for one Councillor? Do I think the right parishes have been added to our Electoral Ward? Should the new Electoral Ward be bigger or smaller and if so, which parishes should be added or subtracted from it? Is the forecasted growth in the number of electors reasonable?
All of the proposals can be accessed online, including interactive maps showing Parish boundaries along with the existing and proposed Electoral Wards. The link to the consultation is http://www.lgbce.org.uk/current-reviews/eastern/suffolk/mid-suffolk. The interactive maps are here https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk/node/9230.
You can give your views online, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to: The Review Officer (Mid Suffolk), Local Government Boundary Commission for England. 14th floor, Millbank Tower, Millbank. London SW1P 4QP.
These associated documents are available below.