Published: February 22, 2012
Electoral reform proposals for Burnham and Highbridge unveiled

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has this week invited people in the Burnham-On-Sea area to comment on new proposals to change electoral arrangements in the town.

A seven-week public consultation on the recommendations began this week and runs until 9th April.

Click image for larger high-resolution versionThe commission's report outlines the proposals: "The County Council's proposed division arrangements for Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge provided for two single member divisions of Burnham North and Highbridge & Burnham South, with an area of urban Highbridge near Brue Bridge placed in a third, predominately rural division of Huntspill."

"We considered that the Council’s proposals for Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge would provide for good electoral equality but did not adequately reflect community identity, particularly in the Brue Bridge area."

"Furthermore, we noted the Council’s proposal would split Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge parish between three divisions."

"As a result of these concerns, we have modified the Council’s proposals as part of our draft recommendations, transferring the area around Brue Bridge from Huntspill division to Highbridge & Burnham South division and transferring the residential area to the east of Oxford Street into Burnham North division from Highbridge and Burnham South division."

"We consider that our draft recommendations provide for stronger division boundaries, further improve electoral equality and ensure the town council is wholly contained within two rather than three divisions."

"Under our draft recommendations, the two single-member divisions of Burnham North and Highbridge & Burnham South would have 4% more and 6% more electors per councillor respectively than the average for the county by 2017."

Max Caller, Chair of the LGBCE, said: "Over the next few weeks, we are asking local people to tell us if they agree with the proposals or if not, how they can be improved. Having fair electoral boundaries for your council is important. Our review aims to deliver electoral equality for Somerset’s voters. This means that each county councillor represents a similar number of people so that everyone’s vote in county council elections is worth roughly the same, regardless of where you live."

The full recommendations and detailed maps are available on the Commission’s website here and will also be available to view at Burnham and Highbridge libraries.

To make a submission to the Commission, write or email to them by 9th April 2012 to The Review Officer (Somerset), Local Government Boundary Commission for England, Layden House, 76-86 Turnmill Street, London EC1M 5LG or by email at reviews@lgbce.org.uk.


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