Suffolk could lose five county councillors under boundary changes
In East Anglian Daily Times
Suffolk could lose five county councillors according to proposals drawn up by the government's boundary commissioners. The Local Government Boundary Commission has today published its final recommendations for changes to Suffolk County Council's political map. The recommendations say Suffolk should be represented by 70 councillors - five fewer than the current number. The proposals have been published following the latest consultation - from May 11, 2021, to June 21, 2021 - which focused on county division boundaries in west and east Suffolk.
The commission said a number of changes in Bury St Edmunds have been made to reflect the evidence received.
These include single-councillor Abbeygate and Minden and St Olaves and Tollgate divisions. Also proposed is the retention of the two-councillor Beccles and Kessingland division put forward as part of the further draft recommendations.
The commission said after considering the evidence received at all stages of the review, it concluded that the proposal avoids dividing a number of communities that have expressed shared interests.
There will be 68 single-councillor divisions and one two-councillor division of Beccles and Kessingland. The boundaries of all but one division will change. Parliament will now need to agree the changes - which could come in for the next county council elections in 2025.
The commission said it has reviewed Suffolk to "make sure councillors will represent about the same number of electors, and that ward arrangements will help the council work effectively".
Publishing the plans, Professor Colin Mellors, chair of the commission, said: "We are very grateful to people in Suffolk. We looked at all the views they gave us. They helped us improve our earlier proposals. We believe the new arrangements will guarantee electoral fairness while maintaining local ties."
The plans are in conjunction with a national redrawing of boundaries that will also see three new constituencies created in East Anglia - the reviews have been linked in a bid to try to ensure there are common boundaries for divisions and constituencies in some places.
The constituency proposal would see the number of MPs in the county go up from seven to seven and a half with a new constituency of Halsted and Haverhill created straddling the Suffolk border.
But that proposal is still under review and a final decision on that is expected to be made later this year or in early 2022.