Up to 16 councillors face axe under another local government shake-up for West Northamptonshire

Authority established last year set to shrink by 2025

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 10:17 am

Up to 16 councillors could be axed if proposals for another local government shake-up in West Northamptonshire go ahead.

The Local Government Boundary Commission is reviewing of the council’s size, wards and boundaries ahead of the authority’s next elections in 2025.

The last electoral review took place in 2013 and the unitary authority — established only last year — is based on boundaries from the old county council, with 93 members serving across 31 wards.

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Cllr Suresh Patel says current boundaries are based on the old Northamptonshire County Council and need updating

Councillors were invited to submit their recommendations and a cross-party group has come up with plans to shrink the number to between 77 and 82.

Cllr Suresh Patel, chair of the council’s democracy standards committee, said: “Our current electoral arrangements were imposed by the Structural Changes Order which initially created our council in April last year.

“This is the opportunity for us to make our own assessment of the right number of councillors we need to effectively represent communities, deliver council business and provide efficient governance.

“We are recommending the proposed range of 77 to 82 councillors however the final decision rests with the Local Government Boundary Commission.

“As part of the process we have fed in the views of both members and also residents who recently took part in the Big Conversation, expressing ideas on the council’s role, responsibilities and structure which may also lead to further changes in the way local councillors are supported to engage with their communities.

“There will of course be further opportunities for residents to shape the process by taking part in the commission’s public consultation on stage two, which is due to begin in late August and we will keep them updated in the process.”

The proposal — which could also reduce the council's £1.5 million bill for members’ allowances by around £200,000 — is due to be approved at a full council meeting on Wednesday (June 30).

The outcome of this first stage of the review will be known in late August, with the commission then moving on to determine new ward boundaries, which will involve consultation with residents throughout this autumn.

The review is expected to end in late 2023 once the commission makes its recommendations to government.

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