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Town council slams ward consultation as ‘unclear’ and ‘inadequate’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:23 04 September 2018

Lowestoft Town Council. Picture: Conor Matchett

Lowestoft Town Council. Picture: Conor Matchett

Archant

The creation of a new ‘super council’ in East Suffolk has led to damning criticism from a town council.

The new East Suffolk district council, which merges Waveney and Suffolk Coastal district councils, has seen a raft of proposed changes to councillor boundaries across the region as councillor numbers are cut by almost a half.

Lowestoft Town Council (LTC), which is the biggest in the UK, has slammed the Local Boundary Commission for England’s (LGBCE) proposals for new wards in the town, describing them as “unclear” and “inadequate”.

In a letter sent to the LGBCE’s review officer and seen by this newspaper, the council states that the consultation over the proposed boundary changes to both parish and district wards has been “inadequate”.

The letter states: “The consultation with the Town Council has been inadequate. The combined information from the District Council and the LGBCE has led to confusion about both the reason for the changes and whether the parish boundaries will change.”

LTC have also criticised the reasoning and the logic behind some of the specific changes in ward boundaries, including why the Tingdene caravan park has moved wards, and the drop in the number of councillors representing the Gunton ward.

The council also highlights the creation of a brand new ward, the Tom Crisp ward, which the council believes will “increase the benefit to that local area while there is a reduction in Gunton.”

The letter also blames “insufficient local knowledge” for the reasons behind combining the Harbour and Normanston parish wards, while leaving Pakefield and Kirkley as separate wards.

It states: “Insufficient local knowledge is being employed in drafting these proposals and inconsistency has been introduced with a significant disparity in sizes of wards and numbers of councillors.”

A spokesman for the Local Government Boundary Commission for England said: “We are currently looking at all the responses we received to our consultation on ward boundaries for the new East Suffolk Council.

“The Commission has a good record of taking local views on board before it finalises recommendations.

“We are grateful to all the people and groups in Lowestoft and beyond who took the time to give us their views over the past few weeks. We aim to publish our final recommendations in October.”

East Suffolk District Council is due to formally come into existence at the May elections next year.

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