Today is the start of a 11-week public consultation on proposals for new council wards and ward boundaries for New Forest District Council.
Our consultation will close on 2 March 2020.
After we have considered all representations made to us during this consultation, we intend to publish draft recommendations in June 2020.
We will then hold a further period of consultation on our draft recommendations.
Our final recommendations are expected to be published in November 2020.
The new electoral arrangements will come into effect at the local elections in 2023.
If you represent a local organisation or community group in New Forest, please pass this message on to your members or anyone who you think might be interested in the review.
What is an electoral review?
Our electoral review will recommend new electoral arrangements for New Forest District Council. We will propose:
- the total number of councillors elected to the council in the future;
- the number of wards;
- the number of councillors representing each ward;
- ward boundaries; and
- the names of wards.
How to get involved
This is a public consultation and we welcome views from individuals and organisations across New Forest on where they think new ward boundaries should be drawn.
We are minded to recommend that 48 councillors should be elected to New Forest District Council in the future.
This is 12 fewer than the current number of councillors.
We are now inviting proposals to help us draw up a pattern of wards to accommodate 48 councillors.
In drawing up new electoral wards, we must balance three legal criteria, namely:
- to deliver electoral equality: where each councillor represents roughly the same number of electors as others across the district;
- that the pattern of wards should, as far as possible, reflect the interests and identities of local communities;
- that the electoral arrangements should provide for effective and convenient local government.
We will treat all submissions equally, and judge each case on its merits and against the legal criteria.
If you wish to put forward a view, we would also urge you to ensure that evidence supports your submission.
For example, if you wish to argue that two areas should be included in the same electoral ward, make sure you tell us why they should be together, providing evidence about community facilities, ties, organisations, and amenities, rather than simply asserting that they belong together.
There is more advice on our website about how you can get involved in the consultation.
Our website features technical guidance that explains the process and our policies, as well as guidance on how to take part in each part of the process.
We have also set up a webpage dedicated to the review of New Forest District Council, where you can find all the relevant information.
You can also access interactive maps of the current ward boundaries across New Forest on our specialist consultation portal. The portal also allows you to draw your own boundaries, mark areas of interest on the map and upload documents directly to the site.