Colchester to have just 51 councillors chosen in all-out elections from next year

Colchester Town Hall will have just 51 members from next year.

Colchester Town Hall will have just 51 members from next year. - Credit: Su Anderson

Colchester Borough Council will lose nine councillors next year.

The final recommendations from the Local Government Boundary Commission for England have been published.

Its report confirms plans to reduce the number of councillors from the current 60 to 51, made up of 17 three-member wards.

Ward changes include a large Rural North ward stretching from Dedham to Great Tey, and a Marks Tey and Layer ward reaching from Marks Tey and Messing to the Wigboroughs.

However the number of people in all wards will be within 10% of the average using the projected population in 2020.

The final report follows a 12-week consultation, and the suggested changes will now have to be approved by Parliament.

A draft order will be laid in Westminster in the coming months.

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To accommodate the changes the council will next year switch to all-out elections – meaning the 20 councillors who win seats in May will only be in office for a year.

Max Caller, chairman of the independent commission, said: “We are extremely grateful to people across Colchester who took the time and effort to send us their views.

“The commission considered every piece of evidence it received before finalising these recommendations.

“Across the borough, we have sought to balance the views expressed to us by local people with the criteria we must apply when we are deciding on new electoral arrangements.

“As such, we believe these recommendations deliver electoral equality for voters as well as reflecting the identities of communities in Colchester.”

Some changes made as a result of feedback include moving the boundary of the new Highwoods and St Anne’s & St John’s ward to run along Ipswich Road, and including New Braiswick Park within the Mile End ward.

The area around St George’s schools will also be included within the New Town & Christ Church ward, while the proposed Old Heath ward will be renamed Old Heath & The Hythe.

The change of the council’s size was consulted on in March last year and was backed by all political groups on the authority except the Liberal Democrats, who proposed keeping the existing 60 members.

To read the full report visit the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s website.