Final draft of new ward boundaries

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FINAL recommendations to re-name and re-draw ward boundaries in Hartlepool have been published.

Hartlepool Borough Council currently has 47 councillors serving 17 wards.

But from next May there will be 33 councillors serving 11 wards across Hartlepool, with three members in each.

The final recommendations – which are subject to final approval from Parliament – have been published by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE).

The new wards are set to be called Hart, De Bruce, Jesmond, Victoria, Headland and Harbour, Burn Valley, Foggy Furze, Manor House, Fens and Rossmere, Seaton and Rural West.

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond – who was in favour of reducing the number of councillors – has welcomed the final recommendations.

He argues that with the Mayoral system there is less need for 47 councillors and that this will help “streamline” the local authority.

Mayor Drummond said: “Reducing the number of councillors is something I have been looking to do since 2002, so I am pleased with the final recommendations.

“The name changes and boundary sizes will take a bit of getting used to for some people.

“There will almost certainly be plenty of political manoeuvring within the groups in town but I just hope that it doesn’t dominate the agenda for the next nine months as there are far more important things happening, such as budget cuts for example.”

He added: “We have reduced the senior management team at the council over the past couple of years and this is all about making us more streamline.”

The draft proposals, which were subject to a 12-week public consultation, were published in March.

Max Caller, chair of the commission, thanked residents for their contribution.

He said: “Our recommendations for Hartlepool will deliver electoral equality for voters in local elections where the value of your vote is similar regardless of where you live in the borough.

“We have also tried to ensure that the new electoral arrangements reflect, as far as possible, the identities and interests of local communities across Hartlepool.”

The proposed new arrangements must now be implemented by Parliament.

A draft Order – the legal document which brings into force the recommendations – will be laid in Parliament later this year. If approved the new wards will be in place for the all-out election next May.

During the consultation, the Commission received responses from residents, councillors, the local authority, parish and town councils and resident associations.

The LGBCE is an independent body which carries out electoral reviews of local authority areas.

The review was carried out so that each ward represented roughly the same amount of people. For more details visit www.lgbce.org.uk