Agenda and minutes

Electoral Matters Committee - Friday 23rd February 2024 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Parkside Suite - Parkside

Contact: Jess Bayley 

No. Item


To receive apologies for absence and notification of substitutes


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors H. Rone-Clarke (Chairman), J. Robinson (Vice-Chairman), C. Hotham, H. Jones and R. Lambert with Councillors D. Hopkins, D. Nicholl, A. Bailes, S. Nock and K. May in attendance as the substitute Members respectively.


As apologies for absence had been submitted by the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman, the Committee was requested to elect a chairperson for this meeting.


On being put to the vote it was


RESOLVED that Councillor E.M. S. Gray be elected as Chairman for the meeting of the Electoral Matters Committee on 23rd February 2024.


Declarations of Interest

To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests.


Councillor A. Bailes declared an Other Disclosable Interest for item 4 – Minute Item 21/23 - Polling Places Alterations 2024 in that he was a friend of the owner of The Old Rose and Crown Hotel.


Councillor K. May declared an Other Disclosable Interest for item 6 – Minute Item 23/23 - Local Government Boundary Commission for England – Worcestershire County Divisions Review in her capacity as Worcestershire County Council Ward Member for Clent Division.


Both Members remained in the meeting and took part in the vote thereon for these items.


To confirm the accuracy of the minutes of the meeting of the Electoral Matters Committee held on 7th December 2023 pdf icon PDF 313 KB


The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 7th December 2023 were submitted for Members consideration.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 7th December 2023 be approved as a correct record.


Polling Places Alterations 2024 pdf icon PDF 134 KB


The Returning Officer and Electoral Services Manager presented the Polling Places Alterations 2024 for the consideration of the Committee.


During the presentation of the report, Members were advised that changes needed to be made to some Polling Places in readiness for the elections due to be held in May 2024. These changes had come to light following the previous meeting of the Committee and Members were asked to make a decision on these changes.


Polling District ASA (Aston Fields North), ASB (Aston Fields South)


Members were reminded that at the meeting held on 7th December 2023 it was agreed that St Godwald’s Church continued to be used as a polling place for Polling District ASA (Aston Fields North), ASB (Aston Fields South). Officers had also investigated the use of the Salvation Army Hall on Carlyle Road which had previously been used as a polling place. Officers were of the opinion that the Salvation Army Hall would be suitable as a polling place.


Polling District CAN (Woodrow)


Members were informed that the current polling place of Catshill Methodist Church Hall was booked for the dates of the election in May 2024 and that the bookings were unable to be changed. Officers had therefore visited Catshill Village Hall and investigated this site as an alternative polling place. Although it was noted that this venue had limited onsite parking, there was on road parking provision across the road. It was therefore deemed by Officers that Catshill Village Hall was suitable for use a polling place for May 2024.


Polling Districts COB/LHA (Lickey/Lickey Monument)


The Returning Officer presented Members with the information in respect of the proposed alteration to the polling place for Polling Districts COB/LHA (Lickey/Lickey Monument). It was confirmed that the usual polling place at the Trinity Centre (Lickey Parish Hall) was unavailable for the elections due to take place in May 2024. It was reported that the owners of the Trinity Centre were unwilling to change the current bookings due to the impact on the current user, a local nursery.


Therefore, alternative venues had been investigated. These were as follows:


1.     Holy Trinity Church

2.     NASUWT Education Centre

3.     The Old Rose and Crown Hotel

4.     Lickey Hills Primary School


In terms of the Holy Trinity Church site, it was explained that there was reasonable space for polling. However, the onsite parking provision was problematic and on street parking, although available, would need to be subject to a Health and Safety assessment due to the speed of motorists on this road and the proximity of the road from the pavement. In addition, there would need to be additional measures put in place to ensure adequate lighting on the site. Officers were also unsure as to whether a ramp would be able to be sited there for electors who experienced mobility difficulties and required alternative access.


Officers reported that the NASUWT Education Centre also posed challenges if selected as a Polling Place. The site was quite off road and potentially  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21/23


Possible Community Governance Review - Finstall Parish pdf icon PDF 235 KB

Additional documents:


The Electoral Servies Manager presented the report in respect of Possible Community Governance Review – Finstall Parish report.


Members were informed that Finstall Parish Council had made a request for a possible Parish Boundary change and therefore a Community Governance Review would need to be undertaken by Bromsgrove District Council.


The anomalies were centred around the location of Field View House within Finstall Ward. The suggestion was that the boundary be moved to follow the train line which would result in Field View House being part of the Bromsgrove Central Ward in the future.


In addition the parish would like to take in Polling District TAE, this is currently unparished and is in the same District Ward as Finstall Parish.


Members considered the proposals and queried what the process would be if the Community Governance Review was not undertaken. It was reported by Officers that if that was the decision taken by the Committee it might result in a petition being put together by residents and if sufficient signatories were gathered then a Community Governance Review would have to be undertaken anyway.


The financial and resource implications were raised by Members. However, Officers reassured Members that these would be covered by existing budgets.


This was identified as an important responsibility and part of the democratic accountability of the Committee that it established and reflected the identity and interests of the community in that area and that it was effective and convenient for the electorate.


If Members agreed to undertake the Community Governance Review, then terms of reference would need to be drawn up and agreed by the Committee. The consultation period would be up to one calendar year and could be either a light touch review or a more in-depth review. Once the consultation period was finished then the findings would be brought back to the Committee to assess the most appropriate outcome.




1)    the report be noted.


2)    a Community Governance Review on Finstall Parish Council in regard to the areas detailed within the report and Appendix 1 be undertaken.



Local Government Boundary Commission for England - Worcestershire County Divisions Review pdf icon PDF 255 KB


The Electoral Services Manager presented the Local Government Boundary Commission for England - Worcestershire County Divisions Review for members consideration.


In doing so, it was highlighted that the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) had recently published its draft proposals for the new Electoral County Divisions in Worcestershire. Included in the draft proposals were recommendations of eight Divisions, seven of which were single Members and one with two Members.


Members were informed that these proposals were currently out for consultation, and that individuals and political parties could make a submission on this consultation. Bromsgrove District Council could also make its own submission. However, Officers explained that as there was currently a review underway by the LGBCE in respect of the Bromsgrove District wards that unless there were any further anomalies, such as the changes to Finstall Parish Council, as discussed earlier in the meeting, then no other submission should be made.


It was noted that the LGBCE would publish their final recommendations following the consultation period on 2nd July 2024 and these recommendations would be in place for the Worcestershire County Council elections in May 2025.


Following the presentation of the report, Members expressed their concerns regarding the draft proposals, particularly in respect of the Clent Hills Division proposal which recommended that Bell End, Bell Heath, currently in Belbroughton Division, be moved to the Woodvale Division. It was noted that the residents within the Belbroughton Division had no connectivity with Woodvale and most residents looked to Belbroughton to access their local amenities, such as schools, doctor’s surgeries and for shopping. Residents had expressed their concerns in respect of moving Divisions and as elected Members representing the District’s communities it would be appropriate to send a submission stating residents’ concerns as part of the consultation process.


Members understood the residents’ concerns and the importance of a community identity and the impact that this might have should it change as proposed. It was further stated that Belbroughton was a rural Division which significantly differed from the proposed new Division.


It was confirmed that Worcestershire County Council (WCC) had already made a submission regarding these recommendations and that Bromsgrove District Council should certainly make its own submission in order to raise the issue at every level as part of the consultation process.


The Committee discussed ways in which the submission would be drafted. Some Members expressed that this should be a wider Council discussion and decision. However, it was confirmed that due to the tight timeframes and that Council had delegated authority to the Electoral Matters Committee at its Annual Council meeting, to make decisions on behalf of the Council, then the wording could be drafted at this meeting. Officers also confirmed that all Bromsgrove District Council Members had received information on the proposed changes and were reminded that individuals and political parties could submit their own submission should they wish to do so.


Members queried why this matter had not been presented to the Committee prior to this meeting. It  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23/23


To consider any urgent business, details of which have been notified to the Head of Legal, Democratic and Property Services prior to the commencement of the meeting and which the Chairman considers to be of so urgent a nature that it cannot wait until the next meeting


There was no Urgent Business on this occasion.