Blow for plans to increase size of Portishead Town Council

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 February 2017


Plans to increase the number of members sitting on Portishead Town Council have suffered a setback.

The authority voted in favour last year to add four councillors to its authority ahead of the next round of local elections in 2019.

However, the process needs to be independently reviewed and North Somerset Council’s (NSC) planning committee has said it will not allow that to progress without 10 per cent of Portishead electors being in favour.

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, North Somerset’s deputy leader, said: “I am concerned this is coming forward without residents having an opportunity to put their views across.

“I cannot believe residents in Portishead really want to see an increase in the number of councillors, bearing in mind all the additional bureaucracy.”

However, despite his reservations, the idea was backed by the town council because it felt raising its membership to 18 would allow for greater diversity on the council.

Cllr Mark Canniford, a Liberal Democrat councillor for North Somerset, backed the town council’s stance and said the review should be carried out and a decision made by an independent body.

He said: “I believe, like any council, the town council has a right to choose how it wants to form itself and operate. I think if we ask members of the public, they will not have a clue how many councillors are on their council now.

“We [NSC] get paid here for it. They do it for nothing. They can lessen the burden with extra councillors and I have no problem with that.”

The town council would review NSC’s decision and debate what to do next at a forthcoming meeting.

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