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Changes to electoral boundaries could be in place for next council election – but proposals to increase councillor numbers met with opposition

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Saturday, Dec 15th, 2018.

Changes to some of the county’s electoral wards could be in place for the next local government elections in 2022, however suggestions to increase the number of councillors have been rejected by Wrexham Council.

Councillors have been asked to consider proposals by the Local Democracy and Boundary commission, who are currently looking to “address such imbalances”, with a target figure of 1,800 electors per ward for councillors to represent.

Currently there are 52 councillors in Wrexham covering 47 wards across the county borough.

The majority of wards are represented by individual councillors, with the likes of Cefn, Llay, Coedpoeth, Ponciau and Gwersyllt East and South having two representatives.

However the commission has set out an overall aim that Wrexham County Borough Council be made up of 55 Members – an additional three Members on current arrangements.

if a review and the commission’s proposals for Wrexham were to go ahead, three new councillors could be elected locally in the next Local Government Election in 2022.

But the proposals have been met with opposition from local councillors who were this week asked to approve a series of recommendations, including not introducing new ward areas – and therefore new councillors – and that proposals to change the size and even names of some wards are taken to public consultation.

Proposals to increase the number of councillors by three and the additional allowances that would come with it, have been described as “difficult to justify to a public that were seeing the services that they are provided reduced or cut.”

As part of the council’s response it has been proposed that the following ward names, geographies and representation remain the same:

A series of proposals have also been put forward by the council for the existing wards, including a realignment of a number of wards, including Brynyffynnon, Erddig and Offa Wards to offer “better level of electoral equality”.

It has also been proposed that there is a realignment for the New Broughton, Bryn Cefn and Gwenfro wards – with names such as Broughton South, Broughton Central and Broughton North put forward by the current New Broughton and Gwenfro councillors.

However it is noted that the local member for Bryn Cefn “does not support the suggested change of name for Bryn Cefn Ward, and supports retaining the existing ward name.”

Speaking at full council on Wednesday Cllr Mark Pritchard, leader of Wrexham Council, said: “The commission will consider comments and developed draft proposals for ward boundaries and the commission will consult on these in the summer of 2019.

“This is the first time we have been given the opportunity to influence the initial proposals from the boundary commission and I am grateful for that opportunity and thank them.

“In areas where there are members who are potentially affected by a proposal with a consensus of agreement of elected members, we are asking the commission to take these proposals forward for consultation

“In areas of no overall agreement with elected members, we are simply providing the information to the commission to consider in developing their own proposals for consultation.

“I’d like to take the opportunity to remind members that they can respond individually to the commission at this stage and at the next stage.

“For too long we as members have complained and criticised commission for not allowing us the opportunity. “

Councillors voted in favour of the following recommendations:

  • That the Council supports the wards listed under Appendix A remaining as they currently are. These are wards which already reflect an appropriate level of electoral equality or, where this is not the case, where there are no clear and obvious options for change.
  • That the Council agrees to submit the proposals set out in Appendices B – E and requests that the Commission takes these proposals forward for public consultation.
  • That the Council agrees to submit the collated information set out in Appendices F – I for the Commission to consider in developing their own proposals for changes to electoral boundaries on which to consult.
  • That the Council also submits the additional information received from town and community councils which is collated at Appendix J.
  • That the Council does not propose any new ward areas within the County Borough.

You can view the recommendations and proposed changes to ward boundaries here

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