By Connor Steel
FAREHAM residents are being encouraged to register their opinions on potential new Borough Council ward boundaries and a change in councillor numbers to be implemented at a future date if approved, with multiple draft changes being proposed by the Local Government Boundary Commission and further published online.
As an independent body and charged with drawing boundaries the commission is reviewing Fareham areas to ensure that all councillors will represent a similar number of voters per individual ward; alongside helping the council work effectively. A similar review in Gosport saw a reduction of councillors and an all-out election in May, which saw the Liberal Democrats take overall control of the local Town Hall until 2024 at the earliest.
The published proposals for Fareham include an increase in councillors to thirty-two instead of the existing 31, with the Tories having current overall control of the Civic Offices. Two will be elected across the sixteen wards with changes to boundaries across all existing areas as voted upon in recent local elections like 2022.
Proposed changes will account for a new Welborne Garden Village development north of the M27 motorway, which would see a larger boundary around the surrounding areas. This will allow any new voters from 6000 homes, shops, schools, employment and local facilities to be eligible to vote for representatives in Fareham.
The current three-councillor ward of Portchester East would be abolished under the new plans and would be replaced by two bigger boundary areas, each being served by 2 councillors. This is where the extra member sitting on the council would originate with the number of representatives from other wards unlikely to change.
A ten week consultation on the proposals started before the sad death of Her Majesty the Queen and will run until November 15, with the commission keen to hear the views of everybody in Fareham to ensure fairness and integrity to voters across the boroughs as everyone will be affected. A high resolution map of the ward boundary proposals can be seen by downloading an accessible PDF file available by clicking the link here.
Launching the consultation Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said in a statement: “We want people in Fareham to help us. We have drawn up proposals for new wards in Fareham. We want to make sure these new electoral arrangements reflect communities. We also want them to be easy to understand and convenient for local people. Residents and local organisations can help us do that (at this early stage)”.
He continued to say the following: “We would like them to let us know whether they agree with our proposals before we take final decisions. It’s easy to get involved. Go to our website or you can e-mail or write to us. Just tell us what you think and give us some details why you think that. It’s really simple, so do get involved”
The Commission has a dedicated section on its website where people can see the detail of the proposals and comment on the names of wards and their boundaries at https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk/node/32652.
Residents can also give their opinions by e-mailing via email@example.com or by using postal options. Any letters sent should be addressed to; The Review Officer (Fareham), LGBCE, PO Box 133, Blyth NE24 9FE.
PICTURED BY ALAMY (BR706R): Arches of the Brick Viaduct located near Fareham town centre and creek.