Back to the drawing board for Birmingham council ward boundaries review
Controversial proposals to redraw the political map of Birmingham are going back to the drawing board following an avalanche of public protest.
The Local Government Boundary Commission received more than 2,000 complaints about its plan for radical changes to the 40 wards that currently make up the city council.
City council leader John Clancy led the protests and asked the commission to think again after it emerged the new ward structure would rip through communities and contained a series of unusual decisions including removing Moseley village from Moseley ward and Hall Green stadium from Hall Green ward.
Now the commission has announced it will take notice of public submissions from Birmingham and is to publish a revised ward map on May 10th, which will be subject to a further round of consultation.
The commission will finalise the recommendations in September after considering feedback to the consultation.
Commission chairman Professor Colin Mellors said the new map would make changes in several parts of the city in response to concerns about community ties. However, Prof Mellors stressed that it is normal for the commission to propose changes following a period of public consultation.
Prof Mellors said:
We are grateful to the people of Birmingham who provided us with an outstanding quantity and quality of feedback on our proposals a couple of months ago.
We have considered every submission and have weighed them against the rules we must follow when we draw up new boundaries. In several parts of the city we propose to change the recommendations in response to local evidence about community ties.
It is common practice for the Commission to hold an additional phase of consultation if it makes significant changes to a pattern of wards following consultation. I hope local people will participate in the next phase of consultation as enthusiastically as they have done previously.
Writing in Chamberlain Files last August, the previous commission chair Max Caller, promised to draw up ward boundaries “on the basis of evidence about community interactions, geographic features and the specific circumstances of the area in question”.
Throughout the process, we rely on the evidence provided to us by councils, councillors, local organisations and individuals to build our recommendations.
The commission’s recommendation that the number of city councillors should be reduced from 120 to 100 has already been accepted by the Government. The new ward boundary map will reflect the smaller number of councillors and will be used for the first time at the 2018 elections.
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