Council leader hits out as Central Beds faces fewer councillors

A council leader has hit out at the possibility of having the number of councillors in Central Bedfordshire cut. The comment from Cllr Tricia Turner, leader of Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC), came after the independent Boundary Committee for England

A council leader has hit out at the possibility of having the number of councillors in Central Bedfordshire cut.

The comment from Cllr Tricia Turner, leader of Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC), came after the independent Boundary Committee for England announced its initial recommendation on council size for CBC, saying it should have a council size of 59 members not the 66 it currently has.

Cllr Turner hit back saying: "We have 66 councillors working hard in Central Bedfordshire, which is a reduction from the 136 councillors who sat on the legacy councils.

"It has been Central Bedfordshire Council's commitment to work very closely with residents, recognising their needs when delivering the best quality services available.


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"Reducing the number of councillors further or spreading them more thinly across larger wards will mean that we will be unable to do this and the capacity to achieve that close working relationship will be vastly reduced."

Further consultation, which will map out the number and boundaries of the electoral wards, started this week and ends on January 11, 2010.

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The electoral reviews are being held because CBC is a new unitary council which began work in April 2009. The intention is that their electoral arrangements - the number of councillors, and the number and pattern of wards - should reflect the councils' new functions and how they intend to engage with local people and communities.

Max Caller, chairman of the Boundary Committee, said: "We've looked carefully at all the evidence we received in support of various council sizes before making our decisions.

"We want to make sure that the electoral arrangements for the council work best for residents in Central Bedfordshire.

"We're now starting the second round of consultation in these reviews, and we're asking people to submit evidence-based proposals for new ward boundaries to us.

"At this stage the consultation is designed to help us draw the map of what the council's wards will look like. We need help from local people to do that, so we want to know what people think of as their community. "We'll consider carefully all evidence that is provided during the next stage of the process. At this stage, none of our decisions are final."

Further information on electoral reviews and guidance on what sort of information the Committee is looking for should be available at council offices, in local libraries, or on the Boundary Committee's website at www.boundarycommittee.org.uk

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