By Craig Robinson
Saturday, February 23, 2013
A DISTRICT authority is recommending the number of councillors on its books be reduced by just over a fifth – saving around £100,000.
Following a request from Suffolk Coastal the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is looking at a possible shake-up of the council.
As part of this the district authority is recommending its members be reduced from 55 to 43 – the equivalent of one councillor for every 2,300 electors.
The aim is to try and ensure each councillor is representing roughly the same number of people.
Reviews are triggered when the ratios become too distorted, as is the case in Kesgrave East and Rendlesham, whose councillors are representing 40% more electors than the district average.
Other areas such as Martlesham, Felixstowe, Rushmere St Andrew and Saxmundham are also expected to see future electoral growth.
The reduction in numbers is predicted to save the authority around £100,000. The draft proposal – drawn up by a cross-party working group – will be discussed at a meeting of the full council on Thursday.
If agreed it will be sent to the LGBCE before public consultation from April to June, after which it will announce its preferred option ahead of further consultations about possible new ward boundaries and names. Parliament would then be asked to approve its recommendations late next year ready for May 2015.
The draft response to the LGBCE says: “In all the circumstances, the council’s working group and the council have concluded that the size of the council should be reduced to 43 councillors.
“The council is confident that a council size of 43 councillors will ensure that the business of the council is delivered in the most efficient manner possible, whilst also providing the flexibility to address future challenges, and the sustainability to represent the diverse electorate of Suffolk Coastal.”