Councillor numbers set to be reduced
THE number of councillors representing North Somerset could be reduced by nearly 25 per cent in a shake-up of local government.
The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is launching a six-week public consultation on changes to North Somerset Council’s make-up.
The survey is the first stage of a major overhaul which is likely to see changes to the number, names and boundaries of the authority’s electoral wards.
People will also be asked whether the area should be represented by 46 or 51 councillors – in either case, a significant reduction on the current 61 members.
The idea has previously been floated by several current councillors, and now the commission is asking for the public’s help to make it happen.
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Commission chairman Max Caller said: “This is your chance to shape your council for the future.
“We have considered the views put to us in discussions with the council and believe there should be fewer district councillors.
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“We now need your help to tell us exactly how many councillors should represent North Somerset in future.
“We want to know if you think the number of councillors should be reduced to 51 or 46.
“We want to establish the right number of councillors to be able to take decisions effectively and the right number to represent the interests of all communities in North Somerset.
“Once we have taken a view on the number of councillors for North Somerset, we will re-draw ward boundaries to accommodate those elected members and we will be asking local people to have their say during that process as well.”
The idea of reducing the number of councillors was first mooted around 18 months ago, and a vote among Mercury readers showed overwhelming support for the idea.
Any reduction will also help save money, as each councillor draws a basic allowance in excess of �8,000 a year, and North Somerset is currently looking to save more than �86million across the next five years.
You can share your views on the planned council reform by visiting consultation.lgbce.org.uk.