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Birmingham to go 101 from 2018 – final plan for council wards

Birmingham to go 101 from 2018 – final plan for council wards

🕔06.Sep 2016

Final plans for a re-organisation of the wards that make up Birmingham city council have been published. The local authority will be made up of 101 wards from 2018 in a mix of single and two member wards, reports Kevin Johnson.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) has this morning published its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements across Birmingham.

It follows a six-week public consultation on draft proposals and draws new boundaries for each council ward in the city.

The Commission’s final recommendations propose that Birmingham should be represented by 101 councillors in the future: nineteen fewer than the current arrangement. The recommendations also propose that those councillors should represent 37 single-member wards and 32 two-member wards across the city.

Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said:

We are extremely grateful to people across Birmingham who took the time and effort to send us their views. The Commission considered every piece of evidence it received, over three rounds of consultation, before finalising these recommendations.

Across the city, we have sought to balance the views expressed to us by local people with the criteria we must apply when we are deciding on new electoral arrangements. As such, we believe these recommendations deliver electoral equality for voters as well as reflecting the identities of communities in Birmingham.

The Commission believes that the new electoral arrangements provide an overall number of councillors that can help the authority set and implement its strategy for the city. The pattern of wards will also promote local accountability across the many communities that make up Birmingham.

The Commission was instructed to carry out an electoral review of Birmingham City Council following Lord Kerslake’s report on the governance and organisational capabilities of Birmingham City Council. The report recommended that an electoral review should be conducted ‘to help the council produce an effective model of representative governance.’

In response to representations made to the Commission during consultation, the Commission has made changes to the proposals published in May.

In Balsall Heath, the Commission was told that its recommendations divided the centre of the community between wards. The final recommendations extend the boundary of the Balsall Heath West eastwards so that the heart of the community is contained within a single ward, according to LGBCE. The Commission has also renamed Sparkbrook ward as Sparkbrook & Balsall Heath East ward to reflect the identities of the communities within it.

The Commission received local representations that stated its proposals for a single-member Perry Beeches and Perry Hall wards artificially divided a cohesive community. The Commission has therefore merged the two wards to form a two-member Perry Barr ward.

In Erdington and its surrounding area, the Commission has reconfigured its pattern of wards in response to local evidence around community identities. The Short Heath community will be part of the Perry Common ward rather than Erdington and an area to the north of the A452 Chester Road is included in Erdington ward instead of Pype Hayes ward.

The Commission received representations on its proposals that parts of the Oscott community had been included in the Kingstanding ward and that an area that identified with the Kingstanding community had been included with Oscott ward. The Commission has amended the boundaries of the wards to reflect that evidence. Therefore, the area to the north of the B4149 King’s Road – up to Sutton Coldfield – is included in Oscott ward. The area around the southern part of the B4138 Kingstanding Road is included as part of Kingstanding ward.

The boundaries of the Stockland Green ward have also been amended in the west to include the area between Witton Lakes and Witton Cemetery and its eastern boundary has moved westwards so that it runs along the Birmingham to Sutton Coldfield railway line. The Commission was persuaded that the new configuration provided a better reflection of community identities and draws boundaries that are strong and locally recognised.

The Commission has amended ten ward names following local representations. The changes include the addition of the Druids Heath name so that the ward covering that area will be called Druids Heath & Monyhull.

Elsewhere in the city, the Commission has retained proposals that received support from local people in previous phases of consultation:

  • The Commission’s recommendation to include the whole of Moseley village in Moseley ward is part of the final recommendations.
  • The Commission retains its proposals for a North Edgbaston ward alongside an Edgbaston ward to reflect communities that identify with that area as well as including well-known local landmarks.
  • Proposals for a pattern of wards in Sutton Coldfield that acknowledges the Whitehouse Common community and creates a Sutton Vesey ward are retained.
  • The historic centre of Acocks Green is wholly contained in the ward of that name following representations made to the Commission in previous rounds of consultation.
  • Hall Green North and Hall Green South wards are included in the final recommendations. The Commission had originally proposed that parts of the Hall Green community should be included in other wards.
  • In Yardley, the Commission has retained the warding pattern and ward names it put forward in May. In its earlier proposals, the Commission’s ward names had not reflected the full extent of areas that identified with Yardley. This was corrected in May and remains part of the final recommendations.

Full details of the Commission’s final recommendations (including maps) can be viewed here.

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 in the coming months. The draft Order provides for the new electoral arrangements to come into force at the council elections in 2018.

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