Fleet Town Council

Fleet Town Council

Fleet Town Council’s view on its Ward Boundaries

 

 

Fleet Town Council’s view on its Ward Boundaries

Your views are wanted on proposed changes to Fleet Town Council 

 

 

What ’s happening?

Fleet Town Council (FTC) has requested that Hart District Council (HDC) reduces the number of town councillors and reduce the number of parish wards from 7 to 5. We expect these changes to take effect from the new Town Council elections in May 2018.

 

HDC has the power to make changes to parish wards and councillor numbers but before it makes any decision it must consult the electorate on their views. The consultation will run for 2 months and the decision on whether to make any changes will be taken this Summer. This article forms the main part of the consultation. It has been written by the electoral services team at HDC.

 

 

Background

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) completed a review of Hampshire County Council electoral divisions in December 2016. As a consequential change this created 2 new parish wards for FTC and also changed the existing parish ward boundaries to follow the existing district wards and the new county divisions. This new parish ward arrangement has 7 wards; Ancells with 2 parish councillors, Calthorpe with 3 parish councillors, Central with 6 parish councillors, Court Manor with 1 parish councillor, Courtmoor with 2 parish councillors, Pondtail with 4 parish councillors and Wickham Road with 1 parish councillor. These new wards will come into effect from May 2018. This arrangement is referred to below as the LGBCE proposal.

 

FTC have since written to HDC and asked that this new arrangement is reviewed and changed. They have proposed a different arrangement of 5 wards and a reduction in the overall number of councillors from 19 to 18, which we have called the FTC proposal.

 

The consultation is being undertaken to ensure that any views that the electorate may hold in connection with changes are understood before any decision is made.

 

Whilst there is no right or wrong figure for the number of wards on a parish/town council there are some factors that should be taken into account if making any changes.

 

We have listed below some of the good points and bad points for both the LGBCE and the FTC proposals. These comparisons aim to give you an understanding of the main issues, but they are not intended to be a complete list of all the points that may be relevant. Often there is no perfect solution and what is finally adopted may be a compromise.

 

There may be other ward arrangements or views about the number of councillors that you would like to be considered. If you have an opinion or a view which differs then we want you to let us know what you think. Details about how you can let us know your suggestions are at the end of this article.

 

The LGBCE proposal

Number of Parish Wards

Ward Names

Electorate Jan ‘17

Number of Councillors

Variance

7

Ancells (R)

1925

2

-3%

 

Calthorpe (S)

2862

3

-2%

 

Central (T)

5214

6

7%

 

Court Manor (U)

1190

1

-27%

 

Courtmoor (V)

2265

2

-21%

 

Pondtail (W)

4057

4

-8%

 

Wickham Road

(X)

326

1

65%

Total

 

 

19

 

 

   If we take no action this proposal will come into effect

 

  Convenient, as all the electors in a parish ward will also be in the same district ward and same county division. This is what is called good electoral coterminosity and as a general principle it is preferred by the LGBCE.

 

  Supported by the LGBCE.

 

x     The electoral variances are high. Electors in Wickham Road parish ward would have a much greater influence on the Council than would be expected for their electorate size. Electors in Court Manor and Courtmoor would have much less influence on the Council than their electorate size would suggest.

 

x     Not supported by Fleet Town Council

 

x     Creates three arbitrary wards south of the canal with boundaries that are not clearly defined on the ground.

 

x    The number of councillors remains at 19 and Fleet Town Council has never filled all those positions at its elections in 2010 and 2014. This suggests that 19 may be too high a number.

 

x    There is no obvious voting place in Wickham Road or Court Manor parish wards. It would normally be expected that a parish ward would have a focus or community premises within which people would vote.

 

 

FTC Proposal.

Fleet Town Council’s proposal is to link the new LGBCE parish wards of Court Manor and Wickham Road in with Courtmoor making a single ward south of the canal.

 

Number of Parish Wards

Ward Names

Electorate Jan ‘17

Number of Councillors

Variance

5

Ancells (R)

1925

2

3%

 

Calthorpe (S)

2862

3

4%

 

Central (T)

5214

5

-5%

 

Courtmoor ( X,V,U)

3781

4

5%

 

Pondtail (W)

4057

4

-2%

Total

 

 

18

 

 

Endorsed by Fleet Town Council.

 

The electoral variances are excellent and it is unlikely that the views of electors in a single ward would dominate the council. Everyone’s views would carry equal weight, this is an important principle of democracy.

 

   All electors south of the canal would be part of one parish ward (Courtmoor) and one County Division. This better reflects their community interests.

 

  Residents in Courtmoor are more likely to use the same schools, pre-schools and churches. It offers a better community fit.

 

  Provides the opportunity to reduce the number of councillors to 18 making it more likely that there will be contested elections. Competition for places often leads to stronger councils.

 

  All the wards contain an obvious polling station, which could permit all electors in a ward to vote in the same place.

 

x     It may be desirable to reduce the number of Councillors to 16 which is the current number of the 19 positions that the Council have actually filled.

 

x     Electors in the proposed Courtmoor ward would be split across two different district wards making it less convenient electorally and possible less clear for electors. As a result there would be 6 district Councillors representing Courtmoor parish ward.

 

 

Other proposals

There may be other alternatives that could be suggested. If you have an alternative proposal we want to hear from you with the details.

 

Need more information?

Maps of the proposed wards are available from the LGBCE at https://www.lgbce.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/30344/Hampshire_IT_Sht1_V1.pdf

 

The reference letters on the tables above refer to the areas marked on the map.

 

Guidance on changing and selecting new ward boundaries is published by the LGBCE and is available at  (http://www.lgbce.org.uk/__documents/lgbce/guidance-policy-and-publications/guidance/community-governance-review-guidance.pdf)

 

Things to bear in mind

* This consultation is only concerned with Fleet Town Council ward boundaries and not those boundaries for any other Council nor those of Parliamentary Constituencies.

* Any proposal you suggest must ensure that the new parish wards remain wholly within the parish of Fleet.

*  Boundaries should easily identifiable and take into account local community ties.

* Boundaries should follow easily visible ground markings, such as rivers and roads.

*  It is preferable for all the electors to vote at a convenient polling station within their parish ward.

* The boundaries must encourage convenient and effective local government.

* The number of electors per councillor for each ward should be as similar as possible, which is referred to as a low electoral variance. The proposed variances are shown in the tables above.

 

How to respond

You can write with your comments or suggestions to Elections, Hart District Council, Civic Offices, Fleet, GU51 4AE or email them to elections@hart.gov.uk with FLEETCONSULTATION as the title of your email. The consultation will end on 9th June 2017.

 

What happens next?

The results of the consultation will be published in the next issue of the parish newsletter and will be used by Hart District Council to inform its decision as to whether to make the changes to your parish. If changes are proposed they will need to be approved by the LGBCE.