A review of ward boundaries in Blackpool has been branded a ‘total waste of time’ by the town’s Conservative leader after a report concluded only minor changes needed to be made.
It is proposed that the station’s political map will continue to include 21 wards, each represented by two councilors with modified boundaries in all but six wards to reflect changes in population.
According to a report by the Boundaries Commission, an independent body whose role it is to ensure that councilors represent roughly the same number of voters, the Stanley ward should be reduced to “ensure good electoral equality”.
Other proposed changes include altering the boundary between Greenland and Warbreck wards to “better reflect evidence of community identity”.
Councilor Tony Williams, leader of Blackpool Council’s Conservative group, said he was appalled at the outcome of the review after his group’s suggestions, which included merging Brunswick and Talbot wards, were rejected.
He said: “I think it was a complete waste of time and money because hardly anything has changed.
“In the last local elections we could see that there was some imbalance as the Conservatives got more votes but Labor stayed in control as they won more seats.
“So that suggested that the Boundaries Commission wanted to see some electoral equalization in Blackpool.
“But they could have written that on the back of a pack of cigarettes in the pub.”
Councilor Ivan Taylor, deputy leader of Blackpool Council Labor, said he was reasonably happy with the result but would suggest further improvements.
He said: “The proposals are broadly acceptable to us. It’s been 20 years since the boundaries were last revised, so there will have been population changes etc.
“There is a new consultation period which I hope people will take part in, as we will as a political group.”
After the May 2019 election, Labor retained control of the mayor’s office after winning 23 of 42 seats, but the Conservatives won around 200 more votes across the borough.
Consultation on the proposals lasts until April 11 and, if accepted, the changes will come into force in time for the next local elections in May 2023.
Professor Colin Mellors, chairman of the Local Boundary Commission, said: “We have drawn up proposals for new neighborhoods in Blackpool. We want to make sure that these new electoral arrangements reflect the communities. We also want them to be easy to understand and practical for local people.
“Residents and local organizations can help us do that. We would like them to let us know if they agree with our proposals before we make any final decisions. ”
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