Council told to axe 15 councillors

Council Leader Andy Moorhead
Council Leader Andy Moorhead
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The number of councillors in Knowsley should be dramatically reduced, according to the findings of a long-awaited report.

The review - conducted by the independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England - follows an eight-week public consultation.

The commission’s report says the borough should be represented by 45 councillors, 18 fewer than the current number.

They also want to see a new ward called Whiston and Cronton created in place of the original Whiston boundary.

Max Caller, the commission’s chairman, said: “We are extremely grateful to people across Knowsley who took the time and effort to send us their views. The Commission considered every piece of evidence it received before finalising these recommendations.

“Across the borough, 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 Knowsley.”

The recommendations on the Whiston and Cronton proposal were made to better reflect community identity, the commission says.

Council leader Andy Moorhead welcomed the recommendations, which he said would be good for local democracy.

“We invited the Boundary Commission to review our electoral arrangements and we put forward a proposal to reduce the number of wards in Knowsley from 21 to 15 and the number of Councillors from 63 to 45,” added Coun Moorhead.

“This change will generate significant financial savings for the council. Our Elected Members recognise that our workforce has been hugely affected by the funding cuts imposed on us and we think it is right that savings are found from Councillors as well.

“The new arrangements will have a positive impact on the borough by better reflecting the needs of our communities. By making all wards a similar size, this will also promote effective local government.”

A spokesman for the commission said: “In response to representations made to it on the draft recommendations, the Commission has made changes to the draft proposals it originally put forward for consultation in February.

“For example, the Commission now proposes that the ward to the south east of the borough should be called Whiston & Cronton rather than Whiston ward as originally proposed.

“The Commission listened to local evidence that the amended name would be a better reflection of local community identities.

“The Commission also proposes changes to the boundaries of the proposed Whiston and Cronton ward so that the area between the A5300 and A5080 (Cronton Road) is included in that ward rather than Halewood North ward as previously proposed in the draft recommendations.

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 2016.