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South Bucks residents consulted over major council changes
A MAJOR overhaul of South Bucks District Council is the subject of a new consultation by the body responsible for overseeing changes to local government.
Councillors voted in July to submit a request to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) to downsize from 40 elected members to 28.
As reported in the BFP, this was after a council report admitted "finding a full and meaningful role for all 40 councillors has proven problematic".
The LGBCE is now asking residents if they think it is a good idea to shrink the council, and whether 28 is the right number of councillors for them to be represented by.
The six-week public consultation is the first part of an electoral review which will also consider changes to the number, names and boundaries of the council’s wards.
Voters could then see the changes on their polling cards at the next election in 2015.
Max Caller, chair of the Commission, said: “This is your chance to shape your council for the future.
“We want to know if you think 28 is the right number of councillors to be able to take decisions effectively and whether it’s the right number to represent the interests of all the district’s communities.
“If you don’t agree that South Bucks should be represented by 28 councillors, we want you to tell us your alternative and why you think there should be more, or fewer, members of the council in the future.”
He added that once the LGBCE has taken a view on the number of councillors, it will re-draw the boundaries and consult during that process as well.
Currently, the 40 SBDC councillors serve a population of 66,867, with a ratio of one member per 1323 of the electorate – a "generous" figure according to council officials.
With the district’s relative affluence, SBDC argues that the demand for public service provision is low.
Councillors applied for similar changes in 2000, but could not convince the then Boundary Commission to adopt the proposal.
But the council claims changes to its governance arrangements since then have made the issue more pressing.
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