Agenda item

Local Government Boundary Commission for England - Worcestershire County Divisions Review


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 was confirmed that as there was due to be changes to the Ward Divisions in the near future coupled with the difficulty in scheduling Committee meetings due to lack of available meeting dates this matter could not be presented for Members’ consideration.


In addition to the discussion in respect of Bell End, Bell Heath and Sling Common remaining within the Clent Hills division, Members also stated that there were some concerns over the proposal that Alvechurch and Wythall Division be combined into one Division with two Members. It was noted that these two Divisions were very different, both geographically and in size and this proposal would not be appropriate for its residents.


Following this detailed discussion,it was




a)    The report be noted.


b)    a submission be made to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England in respect of the Worcestershire County Divisions Review, in addition to the changes within Finstall Parish, as follows:


“The areas of Bell End, Bell Heath and Sling Common have no connection with the Woodvale County Council Division.


Therefore, Bromsgrove District Councill sees no reason as to why these areas should be included in the Woodvale Division and should remain within the Clent Hills Division as the Clent Hills Division is where residents look to go for their shopping, their education and their doctor's surgery. In addition to this, the whole area also sits within Bellbroughton Parish Council’s jurisdiction.


Furthermore, Bromsgrove District Council is of the opinion that Alvechurch and Wythall remain separate Divisions with a single Member for each of these separate Divisions”.


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