The next council elections in Wrexham, in 2022, could see the election of three new additional councillors if rough proposals are firmed up.
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.
The below map shows the current arrangements on a per-ward basis, with Brymbo having 3107 electors, and Wynnstay with just 1,324.
However the Local Democracy and Boundary commission are looking to “address such imbalances”, with a target figure of 1,800 electors per ward for councillors to represent.
Wrexham’s proposals will likely emerge in 2019 with the final proposals in early 2020, ahead of the next round of council elections in 2022.
Wrexham Council’s lead members have met to discuss the document and proposals, with three further workshops planned. Councillors are being encouraged to speak to the Electoral Services in Wrexham Council to ensure their feedback is heard and included in a future submission.
Wrexham Council’s Chief Executive Ian Bancroft was keen to point out ‘council officers are there to support members, and this is a political issue ultimately’, adding: “This is the first time we have had an opportunity to feed back to proposals in such an early stage.
“There is a question if it is right to increase councillor numbers in the current financial climate, but wards do have to be divided fairly to make sure we have a fair democratic process.
“We know it is a sensitive issue, and there will be lots of different feedback. Lots of groups and ward councillors will have different views. We are submitting one response document, and that will contain the range of views including from community councils.”
Council Leader Mark Pritchard said: “We have been canvassing the Boundary Commission for a long time, and this is the first time early input has come along.
“This is the opportunity to have a say, and I would ask elected members to grasp it. The proposals are for fairness across the borough. If one member represents 1000 people and another 3000, that is not parity and not fairness. We need to have fairness on numbers, and it will be interesting to see how we get to that point.
“I applaud the Boundary Commission, and democracy will always cost you money. The debate on if there should be more or less Assembly Members, or councillors, always comes at a cost but it can’t be fair that some elected members across Wales, as this is a wales wide process, have a small amount of constituents.”
You can find the review document here via the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales website, however does not contain the Wrexham specific map above.
A 12 week public consultation is now open.
For anyone with a very keen interest in local democracy, you can relive our coverage from the 2017 council elections / see which councillors took part in our Q&A, here!
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