Voters in Hartlepool are being given the chance to shape the political landscape of their town for years to come.
The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking the town’s residents for their help in drawing up a new pattern of council wards for Hartlepool Borough Council - which could include the introduction of three new councillors.
The consultation is just the first part of an electoral review which will re-draw ward boundaries across the borough.
An announcement by the Commission also revealed that the borough council should have 36 councillors in the future - three more than the current number.
Professor Colin Mellors, chairman of the Commission, said: “We are asking local people and organisations to help us draw up new wards for Hartlepool.
“As we develop the recommendations, we will take into account local community identities as well as ensuring electoral fairness for voters.
“If you have a view about which communities or neighbourhoods should be part of the same council ward, then we want to hear from you.
“And if you think a road, river or railway makes for a strong boundary between communities in your part of Hartlepool, then this consultation is for you.
“If you’re interested in the way the borough is run, log on to our website to explore our interactive maps and have your say.”
Prof Mellors added: “Your views will make a difference.”
Borough council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher, of Labour, told the Mail: “We put in a cross-party submission which argued that we need no less than 36 councillors in the town.
“The town is growing by 400 houses a year at the minute so more councillors would certainly cover the growt that that brings.
“We’ll find out what the Boundary Commission have decided on later this year.”
The Commission has said it aims to deliver electoral equality for voters in council elections - and it is intended that each councillor will represent the same number of voters.
Residents in the town have until August 6, 2018, to submit their views.
The Commission says it will then publish its draft recommendations in October 2018 and open a further phase of consultation with local people. New wards are scheduled to come into effect at the 2020 council elections.
For more information, visit the Commission’s website at https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk/.
Members of the public can have their say by writing to The Review Officer (Hartlepool), LGBCE, 14th floor, Millbank Tower, London, SW1P 4QP.