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Political map of Southwark to be redrawn as population grows

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking local people for their help to draw up a new map of council wards for Southwark.

"The starting point of an electoral review is for the commission to take a view on the number of councillors that should represent the authority in future," said Max Caller, chair of the commission.

"On the evidence presented to the commission, we are minded to recommend that Southwark should have 63 councillors in future: the same as the current arrangements.

"We are now asking local people and organisations to help us draw up new wards for Southwark. As we develop the recommendations, we will take into account local community identities as well as ensuring electoral equality for voters.

"Your views will make a difference.

"We will carefully consider all evidence that is provided during this phase of the review whoever it is from and whether it applies to the whole of Southwark or just a small part of the borough.

"We will publish all the submissions on our website so that local people can see all the various proposals we receive. Residents will then have a further chance to have their say after we publish our draft recommendations in February 2016."

Local people have until 16 November to submit their views. Further information on the review and interactive maps of the existing wards can be found on the LGBCE website.

The commission's initial view that Southwark should retain 63 members is in line the recommendation of a cross-party panel of councillors which reported to council assembly in July.

The panel was chaired by Cllr Richard Livingstone who explained the situation at July's meeting: "In total, nine of the 21 wards in southwark are either 10 per cent too large or 10 per cent too small compared to the average," he said.

"I think the most extreme example of that is with Cathedrals ward which is 23 per cent larger than the borough average compared to some wards that are 18 per cent below in terms of size of electorate.

"That means for electors in Cathedrals ward that their votes are only worth about two-thirds of what [they would be] in some of the less populous wards.

"And that situation is only going to get more divergent as growth happens in our borough.

"Over the next six years it is estimated that Cathedrals ward will grow to about 18,000 electors – that's around one and a half times what will be the average by then.

"Clearly that is something that has to be addressed."

At present Southwark's 21 wards each have three councillors. The commission may choose to recommend a larger number of smaller wards, some with just one or two councillors.

The commission will publish its draft recommendations in the new year before a further round of consultation and a final report in September 2016.

The new boundaries will come into effect for the next borough elections in May 2018.

The current ward boundaries have been in use since the borough elections in 2002.


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