South Cambridgeshire District Council makes election changes

The scene at a polling station
The scene at a polling station

Elections for South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) will be taking place every four years from 2018 after councillors backed a change last Thursday (September 24) that will continue to offer the flexibility to best serve communities.

The decision is the first step before an independent review of the council’s wards is carried out by the Local Government Boundary Commission who stated to the council that electing in thirds would lead to all communities being represented by three councillors.

Councillors stated the importance of having the flexibility to have one, two and three member wards as the most rural communities are better served by one elected member who can be at the heart of village matters, while larger villages are better served with more than one councillor.

At a second special council meeting at SCDC, councillors also voted to recommend to the Boundary Commission that the number of councillors serving residents in the area is reduced from 57 to 45.

The independent review of the wards in the district was last carried out ten years ago and since then the area has grown more in some areas than others leading to an imbalance in the number of people being represented by their local councillors.

The Boundary Commission will begin their formal review of the wards in the district in November and once they have confirmed the number of councillors they will consult with local communities on the best way to structure wards in the future. This is likely to begin towards the end of the year.

The review of the wards within South Cambridgeshire will not mean any of the boundaries with neighbouring councils will change.

Cllr Sue Ellington, chairman of SCDC, said: “Councillors from all political parties have been working together for a number of weeks to assess all the evidence and make sure we have the right number of councillors to serve our communities in the future.

“Our district is a mix of some larger villages and smaller more rural communities and to serve both of these we wanted to have the flexibility of one, two and three member wards.

“We know this works best for the residents we serve.

“The decisions we have made and recommended to the Boundary Commission are based on how we can best serve local people but by holding district council elections once every four years.

“We hope the steer the council has given on the number of councillors will be listened to by the Boundary Commission when they take an independent look as we believe it is important that at least 45 members are available to represent our communities.

“Please make sure you have your say when the Boundary Commission asks for your views later in the year.”