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20 January 2015, 10:54 | Updated: 20 January 2015, 10:57
The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England has published its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for Peterborough City Council.
The new arrangements, published today (Tuesday 20 January 2015), draw new boundaries for each council ward across Peterborough. It follows a 12-week public consultation on the commission's draft proposals which it published in July 2014.
The commission's final recommendations propose that Peterborough should be represented by 60 councillors in the future, as opposed to the current 57.
The recommendations also propose that those 60 councillors should represent 18 three-member wards, two two-member wards and two single-member wards across the city. This equates to a total of 22 wards - currently there are 24 wards.
The commission has taken on board many of the comments made by the council's Electoral Review Group and reflected these in the new boundary arrangements for the council. The councillors who form this group are John Holdich, Charles Swift, Nazim Khan, John Peach, Nick Sandford, Nick Thulbourn, Chris Ash, John Fox, Paula Thacker, Peter Hiller and Sheila Scott.
In particular, amendments have been made to the configuration of wards in the western part of the city. For example, in place of the three-member Barnack ward it put forward as a draft recommendation, the commission's final recommendations propose a single-member Barnack ward which partially mirrors the current warding pattern in this part of Peterborough.
In addition, the final recommendations propose a two-member Glinton and Castor ward to include the parishes of Ailsworth, Castor, Marholm, Etton, Glinton, Peakirk, Northborough, Deeping Gate and Maxey. The recommendations also put forward a single-member Wittering ward in this part of Peterborough which includes the parishes of Wittering, Thornhaugh, Wansford, Sutton and Upton.
In the urban area of Peterborough, the commission has changed its draft recommendations to create a two-member West ward which includes Longthorpe and South Bretton. The commission believes these changes provide a better reflection of community interests in this part of Peterborough.
In the north of Peterborough, the commission has also moved away from its draft recommendations in response to public feedback on the proposed boundary between Werrington and Gunthorpe wards. Specifically, the commission has decided that the area surrounding The Green should be part of the proposed Werrington ward, and that Amberley Slope and Cissbury Ring should be part of Gunthorpe ward. The commission has also proposed an amendment between the proposed Park and North wards.
Max Caller, chair of the commission, said: "We are extremely grateful to people across Peterborough who took the time and effort to send us their views. The commission considered every piece of evidence it received before finalising these recommendations.
"Across the city, we have sought to balance the views expressed to us by local people with the criteria we must apply when we are deciding on new electoral arrangements. As such, we believe these recommendations deliver electoral equality for voters as well as reflecting the identities of communities in Peterborough and surrounding areas."
Peterborough's MP Stewart Jackson has tweeted, to say he's not happy with some of the boundary changes. He said:
Why is West Ward being dismembered (with ridiculous boundaries) whilst rural wards in west of city are more or less kept in tact? @LGBCE"
Crazy decision of the @LGBCE to put a chunk of Thorpe Meadows area in a Fletton ward across the River Nene! #Barking #Boundarychanges"
The proposed new arrangements must now be implemented by Parliament. A draft order - the legal document which brings into force the recommendations - will be laid in Parliament in the coming months. The draft order provides for the new electoral arrangements to come into force at the council elections in 2016.