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Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of the existence and nature of any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests from Members in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.
No declarations of interest were made by Councillors regarding items on the agenda.
The Mayor announced the sad passing of Honorary Alderman Ruby Smith who was a former Mayor and Stoneleigh RA Councillor for over 15 years. The Council observed a minute’s silence.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has notified the Council of its intention to carry out an electoral review of the Council. The review will consider the total number of councillors on the Council, and then review the numbers and boundaries of electoral divisions within the Council.
The purpose of this report is to introduce the context for the Commission’s presentation to Council.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (the Commission) had notified the Council of its intention to carry out an electoral review of the Council. The review would consider the total number of councillors on the Council, and then review the numbers and boundaries of electoral divisions within the Council.
An Extraordinary meeting of the Council had been called to receive a presentation from the Commission regarding the electoral review process.
The Council received a presentation from Susan Johnson, Lead Commissioner and Mark Cooper, Review Officer as representatives of the Commission. The presentation included the following matters: The Commission’s approach to the review; the reasons for the review; councillor numbers; warding patterns; timeline.
In response to questions from Members of the Council, the Commission representatives provided the following information:
a) Interpretation of neighbouring council sizes. The Commission representatives informed Council that Appendix 4 of the briefing pack provided to Councillors provided data relating to council sizes within Epsom and Ewell Borough Council’s CIPFA family group. The Commission representatives informed Council that this data was intended to be used as an indicator of the spectrum of council sizes locally, and it was not the Commission’s aim to standardise Councils to the same size. In reviewing the Council’s size, the Commission would consider the Council’s view of its requirements for governance, scrutiny, committee membership and representation for electors.
b) Electorate. The Commission representatives informed Council that legislation required that projected electorate figures for 5 years following the date of the review be used for the purposes of the review. This would be the projected electorate for 2027.
c) Review of Borough Boundary. The Commission representatives informed Council that this review could not make changes to the Council’s boundaries with other local authorities.
d) Potential changes to local government structure in Surrey. The Commission representatives informed Council that potential changes to local government structure in Surrey would not affect the electoral review process unless formally agreed by the Secretary of State before the end of the electoral review process.In the event that changes to local government structure affecting the Borough of Epsom and Ewell were agreed prior to the completion of the review, the Commission would seek to pause the review process to identify the most appropriate future steps. The Commission representatives informed Council that the Commission would be very careful to communicate with residents that the electoral review process was separate to discussions about local government structure, and would not influence those discussions.
Following questions from Members of the Council and a statement from the Chairman of the Strategy and Resources Committee, the Mayor thanked the Commission representatives for their attendance and presentation.