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Questions raised over West Norfolk boundary reform plans

West Norfolk Council
West Norfolk Council

A committee of borough councillors has raised concerns over boundary changes affecting West Norfolk.

A public consultation on proposals to cut the number of borough councillors is due to end later this month, ahead of the publication of final plans in the spring.

But a borough council task group set up to consider the issue has criticised the plans put forward by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

They claim the commission’s plans failed to take full account of the authority’s views and have called for its administration to formally raise the matter with them.

The issue has emerged following the publication of papers from a task group meeting last month, the findings of which are set to be debated by the council’s cabinet next Tuesday, January 9.

The document said: “The task group expressed its dissatisfaction in as far as the proposals put forward by the borough council had been worked out in accordance with the advice and guidance given by the commission.

“The task group considered that the commission had greater weight to comments made by individuals, some of which were emotionally based, over the view of the whole council.”

The commission is proposing to cut the number of elected councillors from 62 to 55 and the number of council wards from 42 to 35.

Under its proposed setup, two of the wards would have three councillors and 16 would elect two councillors, with the remaining 17 having a single representative.

But the task group is opposed to the idea of three-member wards and has proposed to split one of the current three-member wards, Gaywood Northbank, into three separate wards.

It also argues the proposed Brancaster ward is too small in terms of the number of voters and is only likely to fall further because of the high number of second homes there.

The consultation closes on Monday, January 15 and final plans are expected to be in place in time for the next borough council elections in May 2019.

Comments can be made online at https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk/node/9806, by emailing reviews@lgbce.org.uk or writing to The Review Officer (King’s Lynn and West Norfolk), Local Government Boundary Commission for England, 14th floor, Millbank Tower, London SW1P 4QP.

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