The New Gartree Division boundaries
New Leicestershire County Council Divisions approved – November 2016
The Leicestershire (Electoral Changes) Order 2016 has been accepted by Parliament, and so the new electoral arrangements will come into force at the next scheduled elections for Leicestershire County Council in May 2017.
The changes for the Gartree Division are as follows (Green indicates a new parish for the Division):
This division will now comprise the parishes of Burton Overy, Carlton Curlieu, Cranoe, Gaulby, Glooston, Goadby, Great Glen, Illston on the Hill, Kibworth Beauchamp, Kibworth Harcourt, Kings Norton, Little Stretton, Noseley, Rolleston, Shangton, Slawston, Smeeton Westerby, Stonton Wyville, Tugby & Keythorpe, Tur Langton, Welham and Wistow.
The following parishes will be moved from the existing Gartree Division to the Market Harborough East Division: East Langton, Thorpe Langton and West Langton.
The following parishes will be moved from the existing Gartree Division to the Launde Division: Billesdon, Frisby.
Despite objections to moving some of the parishes out of the Gartree Division, which would have meant around 10% higher electorate numbers than the county average, the Electoral Commission therefore argued that evidence has not been received to justify these high degrees of electoral inequality.
Changes to Leicestershire County Council Divisions
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) provide electoral arrangements for English local authorities that are fair for voters.
The Commission is currently carrying out an electoral review of Leicestershire County Council.
The aim of the electoral review is to recommend electoral division boundaries that mean each county councillor represents approximately the same number of voters. We also aim to ensure that the pattern of divisions reflects the interests and identities of local communities as well as promoting effective local government. In order to achieve these aims, we need to re-draw division boundaries across the county.
The LGBCE started the first period of consultation for a pattern of wards for Leicestershire County Council on 12 May 2015. Between 12 May 2015 and 21 July 2015, they invited comments on the ward boundaries for the authority. The Commission also announced that it is minded to recommend that the county council should have 55 county councillors in the future, the same as current arrangements. The only change proposed by the County Council and myself to the Gartree Division was the removal of the villages of Billesdon and Frisby, in order to keep the overall electorate within 10% of the county average of 9,984 in 2021.
Following receipt of consultation responses, the LGBCE published draft recommendations on 17th November 2015 with a closing date of 11th January 2016.
I have objected (see italics) to the recommendations for the Gartree Division, which were: To exclude Billesdon and Frisby (as already agreed to by myself), but to include the parish of Tugby & Keythorpe (in Tilton Ward so no community links with rest of Division) and excludes those of East Langton, Thorpe Langton and West Langton (by moving them into the Market Harborough East Division. There are no community links, the A6 Market Harborough bypass forms a natural boundary, and this would remove four villages – including Church Langton – from the traditional Langtons group of villages). LGBCE conclude their recommended division has clear boundaries and gives a good level of electoral equality. I disagree.
The LGBCE published its final report on Tuesday 5th April 2016.