“Redhill West & Wray Common” and “St Mary’s & St John’s” are two of the new ward names that Reigate & Banstead Borough Council will be putting forward as part of the boundary review process.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is looking at the borough’s electoral arrangements because it’s been around 20 years since the last review, and population patterns have changed.
The council has already told the commission that it thinks it should have 15 three-member wards, making a total of 45 councillors, instead of the current 19 wards that total 51 councillors.
On Thursday, councillors approved new ward maps and names, for submission to the boundary commission.
Under the plans, Reigate Hill would disappear as a ward, most of it going into an enlarged “Reigate”.
“Redhill West & Wray Common” and “St Mary’s & St John’s” would be created between Reigate and Redhill. Much of them would be made up of what is currently “Redhill West” and “Meadvale and St John’s”.
Woodhatch would now be contained within a single ward, “Woodhatch, South Park and Sidlow”.
In drawing up the proposals, the council’s working group had to ensure that wards would have around the same number of voters, while keeping communities together.
In Thursday’s debate in the council chamber, some of the plans drew criticism – for example from Cllr Steve Kulka (Lib Dem) about the way Meadvale Village would be separated from the Old Oak pub, Cllr Dorothy Ross Tomlin (Con) about the division of Salfords & Sidlow parish between four wards, and Cllr Nick Harrison (Residents) about where lines had been drawn in Nork and Tattenhams.
And some opposition councillors argued that the working group (with its Conservative majority) hadn’t adequately taken into account the views of smaller parties.
But Cllr Lynne Hack (Conservative), the responsible executive member, defended the working group’s efforts to consider alternative approaches, and said that compromises had been needed on boundary changes throughout the borough. She added that the council would not decide the outcome:
“The decision isn’t ours, the decision is the boundary commission’s: they will take on board everybody’s submission.
I’m sure they won’t accept ours in every circumstance, but we have done our best to balance the criteria across the whole of the borough.”
At the vote, 31 councillors were in favour (all of them Conservative) while eight were against (six Residents and both the Lib Dems). There were four abstentions: one Green, the Mayor (who usually abstains) and two Conservatives.
Once the boundary commission has come up with its proposals there will be a public consultation, likely in June. The new boundaries are expected to be in place for May 2019.
(All to have three members)
- Earlswood & Whitebushes
- Redhill East
- Redhill West & Wray Common
- South Park, Woodhatch & Sidlow
- St Mary’s & St John’s
- Banstead Village & Burgh Heath
- Chipstead, Kingswood & Woodmansterne
- Preston Park & Tattenham Corner
- Tadworth, Walton & Lower Kingswood
- Merstham, Netherne & Hooley
- Horley Central
- Horley East & Salfords
- Horley West