“Coles Meads & Wray Common” and “St Mary’s & Redhill Common” are among the ward names proposed in a consultation on Reigate & Banstead’s electoral map.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is re-drawing the borough’s ward boundaries because it’s 20 years since the last review and population patterns have changed since then.
There’s already been one consultation, in which residents, political parties and the council gave their views.
Now the commission is asking for input on the map it has come up with: the aim has been to balance numbers of residents across wards while keeping communities together, taking into account views earlier expressed and visits made by the commission.
Under the proposals, “Reigate” and “Redhill Town” would form two of the wards in the centre of the borough. In between would be “Coles Meads & Wray Common” and “St Mary’s & Redhill Common”, both with boundaries different from the current “Redhill West” and “Meadvale & St John’s”.
The boundary commission has found a way to keep Meadvale largely together (the council’s proposal had split it), but as part of the new “Earlswood Common” ward.
Elsewhere, Woodhatch would now all be contained within one ward – “Woodhatch & South Park” – rather than divided as it currently is.
The re-draw across the borough is particularly extensive because the council and the commission want to reduce the current 51 councillors to 45, with all wards now having three members.
An interactive map and further details of the consultation, including how to respond, can be found via a Boundary Commission webpage, with a deadline for responses of 13 August (2018).
Professor Colin Mellors, chair of the commission, said earlier this month:
“We are asking local people to tell us if they agree with the proposals or, if not, how they can be improved.
Our review aims to deliver electoral equality for local voters. This means that each councillor represents a similar number of people, so that everyone’s vote in council elections is worth roughly the same, regardless of where you live.
We also want to ensure that our proposals reflect the interests and identities of local communities across Reigate and Banstead and that the pattern of wards can help the council deliver effective local government for local people.
We will consider all the submissions we receive, whoever they are from and whether your evidence applies to the whole borough or just a part of it.”
Every seat up for grabs in 2019
The changes are expected to be in place for May 2019, when all-out elections will have to take place across the borough, for every council seat.
Subsequently, the borough will return to electing councillors by rotation, with elections in three years out of four.