‘Scrap eight seats in boundary review’, West Norfolk Council report suggests

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
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At least eight West Norfolk councillors could lose their seats as part of a review of the borough’s ward boundaries.

Borough council chiefs have recommended the reduction, warning that bigger cuts could mean some areas were not properly represented.

A working group was set up earlier this year to look at the authority’s structure, after the Local Government Boundary Commission signalled its intention to re-assess the borough.

The council’s draft submissions, which have been published ahead of a special cabinet meeting scheduled for next Tuesday, say the committee looked the option of maintaining the existing 62 seats, as well as reducing the number of councillors to as few as 48.

But it argued that 54 councillors were still needed to ensure communities would continue to be properly served.

It continued: “In view of the rural nature of the borough and the significant number of communities that make up King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, any reduction below this figure would be difficult to sustain in terms of effective representation of the dispersed communities residing in much of the borough.

“Borough councillors have a high profile within their local communities and there is an expectation from the majority of parish councils in the borough for borough councillors to attend most, if not all, of their meetings.

“Although a reduction in council size will make meeting this expectation more challenging, it would be possible to maintain effective communication with parish councils.”

The 62 existing council seats are divided among 42 wards, of which 14 have two seats allocated to them.

Three wards – Denton, Gaywood North Bank and Hunstanton – currently have three councillors each.

Although where any new ward boundaries are to be drawn will be considered at a later stage in the process, council officials have said they would prefer single-member wards, with two seats allocated to larger areas.

The report added: “Only in exceptional circumstances should a three member ward be agreed.”

Any recommendations passed by the cabinet will be referred to a special council meeting which takes place on May 11, ahead of the traditional mayormaking ceremony in the town hall.

The commission has set a May 15 deadline for submissions.