And so the Local Government Boundary Commission has finally published the plans for Colchester.
The headline news is that the CBC Cllr headcount will be culled from 60 to 51.
Seventeen wards will be represented by three Cllr’s per ward.
It’s all about the electoral variance.
This is explained as:
“Some councillors represent many more or many fewer voters than others. This means that the value of each vote in city council elections varies depending on where you live in Colchester.”
We have absolutely no idea why the Commission refers to Colchester as a “city.” We hope that this technical detail doesn’t derail the proposals…
The slight re-jigging of some of the ward boundaries and the reduction of the number of Cllr’s is designed to make all votes of equal value.
The report adds:
“Under our final recommendations, none of our proposed wards will have electoral variances of greater than 10% from the average for the borough by 2020.”
The 12 week consultation produced just 50 responses from residents throughout the borough.
This is PISS POOR.
We’re not sure who is to blame here – apathy from Sunny Colch residents towards the whole system, or a clumsy consultation carried out by the Boundary Commission.
As for the politics of this process?
No surprises that the political players in Colchester were keen to step forward and offer their combined wisdom.
Some of the wisdom was possibly more ‘combined’ than the Commission was actually expecting.
The report rather alarmingly states:
“Having carefully considered the evidence received, we are of the view that the original submissions made by the Conservative, Labour, and Highwoods & Stanway Independent groups were corroborated by evidence that emerged during consultation.”
It appears that these three parties all worked together to push for the reduced headcount that they preferred.
As for the other lot?
“The Liberal Democrat Group proposed retaining the existing council size of 60 members.”
Turkeys, Christmas etc.
We’re not sure how this will all play out politically. The BONKERS election by thirds system that CBC currently uses makes it tricky to predict any patterns – especially so with a culling of Cllr’s.
What we do know is that once Parliament has agreed to these proposals, then the 2016 local elections in Sunny Colch will be absolutely hellish.
ALL seats will be up for grabs.
This makes for an absolute mockery of the next set of election by thirds that some wards will be voting on this May.
Any new administration that will be formed in less than two months time will only have a year to put in place any policies.
It will be all change in May 2016 with the whole lot up for grabs.
Whisper it quietly – *shhhhh* – we actually feel quite sorry for any future CBC Cllr’s.
The workloads are going to be increased with larger wards and fewer Cllr’s. Plus don’t forget the projected population increases for our town which will only add to the problem.
On the plus side the Community Infrastructure Levy may be better used. This is the hard cash that developers have to cough up when they go about building fancy new projects.
Boundary changes such as bringing together both Wivenhoe wards should mean that the town as one should benefit, rather than the current top and bottom arrangement.
And so the consultation is complete, the report has been published and the politics of Sunny Colch look set to change with a squeezing of the LibDem lot.
Fifty residents could be arsed to speak.
Next time the WEIRD CBC Cabinet tries to shaft the street traders, or attempts to TURN ON the street lights or even tells the Arts Council that firstsite is crap, you can wager that there will be more than 50 voices to be heard in the town.
Local government is all about local issues.
How we put these people in power should always be the base starting point.