Draft recommendations on @DevonCC’s new electoral arrangements for #Cowick

The independent body, the Local Boundary Boundary Commission for England, was set up by Parliament to carry out electoral reviews of local authorities.

Each electoral review seeks to examine and propose new new electoral arrangements for a local authority and considers:
– the total number of councillors representing the council’s votes (‘council size’);
– the names, numbers and boundaries of wards or electoral divisions; and
– the number of councillors representing each ward

LGBCE thought that Devon has high levels of electoral inequality, where some county councillors represent many more – or many fewer – voters than others. This means that the value of a vote – in county council elections – varies depending on where you live.

To address this, LGBCE launched a preliminary public consultation on new division boundaries which ran between 28 Oct 2014 – 19 Jan 2015.

During this period, LGBCE did NOT receive a detailed submission from DCC! Among the 35 submissions they did receive, there were 2 county-wide proposals, the remainder providing localised comments for division arrangements in particular districts.

Having carefully considered the proposals received, the Commission took the view that the proposed patterns of divisions in the county-wide scheme (from a member of the public) resulted in good levels of identifiable boundaries. The Commission therefore has based their draft recommendations broadly on that scheme, modifying it as they considered appropriate, having regard to statutory considerations.

And today, LGBCE launches those draft recommendations for new electoral arrangements.

They propose that Devon County Council should be have  60 councillors (down from the current 62) representing 56 single-member divisions and two two-member divisions across the county.The Commission believes that a council of this size can discharge its roles and responsibilities effectively and provides for a a division pattern that meets the LGBCE’s statutory criteria.

The LGBCE have the full draft recommendations and a brief summary available on its website.

What do these propose for Exeter? LGBCE recommends that the city continues to be represented by 9 county councillors.

Screen shot 2015-05-16 at 08.08.51And what does this mean for Cowick and the West Exe?

The current DCC division of Alphington & Cowick will disappear.

Under the new arrangements for DCC elections it is proposed that half of Cowick will join Exwick in the new Redhills & Exwick division, while the remainder will join up with others to become Alphington & St Thomas. A part of the existing Alphington and Cowick will join with some of St David’s to form the St David’s & Haven Banks division.

Screen shot 2015-05-15 at 07.43.44

In a little more detail…

Alphington & St Thomas
This division lies in the south west of the city and comprises the communities of Alphington and St Thomas…including some of the current Cowick ward.

A city-wide submission proposed this division on the basis of the following criteria:
• Shared shopping facilities at St Thomas centre and Alphington Sainsbury’s and Retail Park.
• Both share West Exe School
• Well connected through Alphington Road and Cowick Lane with the A Bus serving the community
• Allows for the retention of the historic St Thomas community within the Division
• Within variances

LGBCE adopted this scheme, subject to some modifications to the northern and eastern boundaries. They consider that these alterations provide clearer boundaries and better reflect community identity in this area.

Redhills & Exwick
This division lies in the north-west of the city and comprises the communities of Redhills and Exwick.

A city-wide submission proposed this division on the basis of the following criteria:
• Maintains much of the current division
• Strong Redhills community, which is not currently recognised by the current Divisions, with the shared facility of Redhills Primary School
• Strong bus route connection and linked through Exwick Road.
• Within variances

LGBCE adopted this scheme, subject to  a minor  amendment to the southern boundary which they consider provides an improved r reflection of community identity and better electoral equality.

What happens next?

The LGBCE is inviting comments on these draft recommendations, and particularly welcome comments of the division names they have proposed as part of the draft recommendations.

The Commission has an open mind about its final recommendations and will consider every piece of evidence they receive from local groups and people. Every representation will be considered, regardless of whom it is from, or whether it relates to the whole county or just a part of it.

The Commission’s website has a special consultation area where there are interactive maps to explore, and the alternations to the proposed boundaries can be submitted. They will also receive comments by e-mail to reviews@lgbce.org.uk.

The public consultation runs until 06 July 2015 and the final recommendations by the Commission will be published on 29 September 2015.


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