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West Suffolk council asks for help in shaping new authority

The new West Suffolk Council is expected to be formed in 2019.
The new West Suffolk Council is expected to be formed in 2019.

A local council is appealing for help in redrawing its electoral map as it merges with its partner authority.

Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council jointly put forward a proposal to form a West Suffolk Council late last year and, as part of the process, are having to change the shape and sizes of their council wards.

Both councils are appealing for businesses, community groups and the public to help the initial work to shape the new ward boundaries.

In the business case, both authorities proposed cutting eight council seats once the new council is established in 2019, down from a joint 72 members to 64.

The boundaries will redrawn by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, which is responsible for setting ward boundaries for new councils, and be decided in the summer in time for the 2019 local elections, the first for the joint authority.

The commission considers how many electors are likely to be in each ward.

Cllr James Waters, leader of Forest Heath, said: “Making sure people continue to have strong local representation is vital for the new council and local knowledge is important in making sure we get our proposals right.

“This is an informal stage so we can look at local links and build the wards up. There will be more formal engagement later.”

The warding review will not change the area the council covers or any parish or town.

Feedback can be submitted online at westsuffolk.gov.uk/electoralreviewA unified West Suffolk council does not yet have parliamentary permission, but the House of Commons is likely to approve it later this year.

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