Wealden councillors are submitting proposals for new electoral ward boundaries in the district.
The suggested changes see five new wards (voting areas) being created in Uckfield, each with one councillor.
They will be:
- Uckfield North, including Coopers Green
- Uckfield East
- Uckfield New Town
- Uckfield West with Isfield
- Uckfield Ridgewood with Little Horsted.
Evidence in support of the new areas being put forward by Wealden is:
“The new warding pattern for the town of Uckfield has been put forward by the existing ward members taking into account the communities within the town. There is likely to be an increase in electorate to the south of the town as the approved development to the east of the A22 gets built out.”
In nearby villages, each with one councillor, the suggestions are:
- Maresfield including Nutley and Fairwarp. “This new ward now follows the boundary of Maresfield Parish Council which has previously been split between three wards. The villages are connected by the A22 and the B2026. Maresfield and Nutley are part of the same church group,” the council states in its evidence.
- Buxted including High Hurstwood
- Hadlow Down and Rotherfield
- Framfield and Cross in Hand, including Blackboys
- Chiddingly, East Hoathly and Waldron
- Danehill and Fletching, including Piltdown, Chelwood Gate and Sharpthorne
The council has put forward the suggestions in response to the Local Government Boundary Commission’s request for proposals to provide better balance to the ward sizes across the district.
Reduction in the number of councillors
The number of district councillors under these proposals would be reduced from 55 to 45.
Existing wards covering Uckfield at present, with current sitting councillors, are:
- Uckfield Central, one member – Cllr Claire Dowling
- Uckfield New Town, one member – Cllr Helen Firth
- Uckfield North, two members – Cllrs Carol Reynolds and Peter Waldock
- Uckfield Ridgewood, one member – Cllr Barry Marlowe
In the surrounding area the existing wards are:
- Buxted and Maresfield, which has two members – Cllrs Toby Illingworth and Michael Lunn.
- Chiddingly and East Hoathly, one member – Cllr Barby Dashwod-Morris
- Cross in Hand/Five Ashes, one member – Cllr Jonica Fox
- Danehill, Fletching and Nutley, two members – Cllrs Roy Galley and Peter Roundell
- Framfield, one member – Cllr Ann Newton
The Boundary Commission is carrying out a review of the Electoral Division boundaries across East Sussex and is asking for the views of local people and groups about where the new district ward boundaries should be.
The Commission also believes the number of county councillors representing the district should be increased by one.
Average ward electorate of 2,909
Councillor Nick Collinson, Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Human Resources, said: “Our proposed ward changes have been drawn up by a working party and are based on suggestions from Members taking into account changes in the electorate projected up to 2021.
“Our proposal to the Boundary Commission is based on an average ward electorate of 2,909, with each ward represented by one member.
“The reduction in the number of Wealden District Councillors to 45 is to be welcomed. It will mean a more streamlined, efficient system of local government, that reflects local interests while reducing the burden to the taxpayer.
No effect on parish and town council boundaries
“Our proposal has been discussed by the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Cabinet.
“It is important to note that these proposals have no effect on parish and town council boundaries, but we do feel, when it comes to district representation, they best represent the identities and interests of the local communities that make up Wealden.
“Ours may be one of a number proposals put forward to the Commission.”
The proposed electoral boundary changes were agreed at a meeting of full council yesterday (November 25).
People have until November 30 to submit their views on electoral boundaries to the Local Government Boundary Commission.
Further information on the review and interactive maps of the existing divisions and wards can be found on the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s website.
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