7 September 2017

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has released its draft recommendations for boundary changes to South Gloucestershire council. The proposals call for a reduction in the number of Councillors from 70 to 61 - splitting the area into eight 3 councillor wards, fifteen 2 councillor wards and seven 1 councillor wards.

Wards that would be affected by the proposals are: 

  • King's Chase
  • Parkwell
  • Siston
  • Cotswold Edge
  • Thornbury North
  • Thornbury South & Alveston
  • Severn
  • Ladden Brook
  • Westerleigh
  • Almondsbury

Mergers would see new wards formed instead:

  • University
  • Frenchay and Downend
  • Staple Hill & Mangotsfield
  • Bitton and Oldland Common
  • Thornbury
  • Severn Vale
  • Charlton & Cribbs

The report recommends the changes in ward boundaries to equalise the number of electors per councillor to improve electoral equality. However the report fails to mention the elephant in the room that is the current electoral system. Under the current First Past The Post (FPTP) system, the make up of the Council does not accurately reflect the way South Glos voted - something that will not change by moving boundaries around.

In 2015, less than half of voters in South Glos voted for a Conservative councillor, yet today the Conservatives have total control over the council with nearly 60% of the seats (pictured below). Such a disparity in what people want and what they get has to be a contributing factor in the disillusionment people feel for politics today. Whilst Greens support the principle of equal electors, such fiddling round the edges of a broken electoral system is window dressing a house that's burning down. We will continue to call for an overhall of the electoral system used at National and Local government levels in favour of those used in Scotland and the London Assembly. You can find out more about better ways of electing our representatives via the Electoral Reform Society.

The Ward Review proposals are currently open for comment and you can read the full draft here.

 

Pie Chart of Votes vs Seats