Local groups, councils and the public are being asked to help initial work to start to shape the new West Suffolk council ward boundaries.
This follows proposals put forward by St Edmundsbury Borough and Forest Heath District Councils to replace them with a new council for West Suffolk.
If Parliament approves the proposal for a new council for West Suffolk, a new set of wards will need to be created before the first elections in 2019. This review will be carried out during the summer by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) who are responsible for setting the ward boundaries for a new council.
In advance of the formal LGBCE review, the Councils are asking local people, groups and councils to share local considerations that need to be taken into account when drafting the Councils’ initial proposals for LGBCE to consider. People can have their say by going to www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/electoralreview until February 12.
This initial informal engagement will help shape the proposals put forward by both authorities.
This warding review will not affect the external boundaries of either council or the external boundaries of any parish or town. It will use the current parish and town council boundaries as the building blocks to create the district-level wards.
In time, consideration will also be given to how many electors are likely to be in each ward, and there will be further engagement with councils, groups and the public on options and preferences for ward boundaries.
Councillor James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, said: “Making sure people continue to have strong local representation is vital for the new council and local knowledge is important in making sure we get our proposals right. This is an informal stage so we can look at local links to help build the wards up. There will be more formal engagement later and the final decision will be made by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.”
Councillor John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “From the very beginning we have been clear that any new council should be designed to best serve our communities. Local knowledge and aspirations will be vital in helping form our proposals and arguments as we shape the new council. We are at the initial stages and I want to reassure people there will both be further formal engagement and, of course, anyone will be able to make their own proposals to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.”