West Norfolk Council publishes boundary reform proposals

GV of  the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn
GV of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn

West Norfolk Council has published its proposals for where ward boundaries should be changed to reduce the number of elected members.

The plans, which will be considered at a special cabinet meeting tomorrow, would see Hunstanton lose one of its current three seats and substantial redrawing of boundaries across the whole borough.

Officials say the measures are necessary to ensure electoral equality between seats, as far as is possible.

It has already been recommended that the number of councillors on the authority should be reduced to 54 from the current 62.

And a public consultation allowing the council, other interested groups and residents to put forward their own ideas, ends next month.

The council’s plans, which were finalised last week, have been developed by a cross-party task group set up to examine the issue earlier this year.

A report published ahead of Wednesday’s cabinet meeting said they would “ensure that the council is able to submit a credible and evidence based proposal for a new pattern of electoral wards.”

At present, the borough’s 62 councillors are split across 42 wards. Of those, 25 have a single representative, 14 have two and three have three.

The proposed new boundaries do not reduce the number of wards, but would see the three-seat wards abolished.

The number of two-seat wards would also be reduced to 12, while the number of single-member wards would go up from 25 to 30.

The only area that would retain three councillors is the current Gaywood North Bank ward, though it is envisaged the area would be divided into three separate seats.

Areas that would lose councillors include Hunstanton, where the number of seats would go from three to two, and Snettisham, where only one seat is planned.

The current Priory and Valley Hill wards, covering villages including the Massinghams, Flitcham, Congham, Castle Acre and West Acre, would be merged, while several other villages would also fall within different seats.

Most of the current Lynn wards would also be divided to create single-seat constituencies, though the proposed South Lynn ward would also include the village of St Germans. The four wards for Downham would be retained.

The report says the plans are intended to ensure each councillor represents broadly the same number of residents, around 2,300.

If the cabinet backs the proposals, they will then go to a special council meeting scheduled for August 31.

The new arrangement that is eventually chosen is expected to be in place in time for the next borough council elections in May 2019.

The current consultation period ends on September 4 and the Local Government Boundary Commission is set to publish its draft recommendations in October.

A further consultation, which is expected to continue into the new year, will follow that, with final plans only being published in the spring of 2018.

To participate in the current consultation, write to The Review Officer (King’s Lynn and West Norfolk), LGBCE, 14th floor, Millbank Tower, London SW1P 4QP or email reviews@lgbce.org.uk.