Elmbridge Conservatives welcome reduction in councillor numbers

The Conservative group welcomes the announcement today by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England that the number of Elmbridge councillors will be reduced from the current 60 down to 48.

Cllr John O’Reilly, Leader of the Council said: "The Commission has fully accepted our argument that a smaller council will be more effective, strategic and accountable to residents as we strive to continuously improve our performance in delivering first rate services and no increases in Elmbridge’s share of Council Tax for 6 out of the last 8 years.”

Elmbridge residents have been represented by 60 Borough Councillors since 1976. It has been a long-term wish of Elmbridge Conservatives to reduce this and we made a manifesto commitment at the 2012 local elections to ask the Local Government Boundary Commission to the review the number of councillors. We have honoured this commitment and a lot of work has been done since then preparing our case.

At the end of 2014, the Council agreed a submission asking for 48 Councillors – a reduction by 12 Councillors. This submission was supported by the Conservative and Lib Dem Groups – but opposed by the Residents Associations Group, who submitted their own proposal to keep 60 Councillors despite never having mentioned the subject in their own election manifestos or done any public consultations."

This morning, the Commission announced they are “minded to recommend” that we should have 48 Councillors. From today until 31 March, the Commission are holding a public consultation on what the future ward boundaries should look like. 

Cllr Andrew Kelly, who has been chairing the Electoral Review Task Group at the Council, said: "I am delighted with the Commission’s announcement that they are minded to cut 12 Councillors. It may be turkeys voting for Christmas, but the Conservative Group has wanted this for years. It’s right for the Council and most importantly right for our residents."

As the Council decided in December to keep the system of electing a third of the Council each year, the Commission will look to draw up 16 three-member wards (currently Elmbridge has 16 three-member and 6 two-member wards). The Commission will publish draft proposals in June, followed by a further public consultation, then we'll know their final decision in December. The new boundaries will come into effect for the 2016 elections. More information can be found on the Commission's Elmbridge webpage here: www.lgbce.org.uk/current-reviews/south-east/surrey/elmbridge