CONCERNS have been raised ahead of a proposed review of Dorset County Council’s divisional boundaries.
Representatives of the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) briefed members at a full meeting of the county council about plans for an electoral review of the authority.
Review manager Tim Bowden explained that the review was being launched because more than one third of Dorset’s divisions had an electoral variance of more than ten per cent.
He explained that the LGBCE would be inviting feedback from councillors, parishes and members of the public as it prepares to draw up a set of recommendations for the council.
A set of proposals will then go out to consultation in May next year and feedback will be considered before a final set of recommendations are put before parliament.
The whole review is expected to take around 18 months and the new divisions will come into force in the county elections in 2017.
Mr Bowden told members: “The commission has no pre-conceived ideas of the outcome of this review.
“We don’t have any idea of how many councillors there will be, we don’t have a blueprint of the map of what the new divisions will be in the county.
“One thing that will happen I can guarantee is things will change.”
A number of councillors who have recently experienced boundary reviews at a district level in Purbeck, West Dorset and North Dorset questioned whether the LGBCE will actually listen to representations they put forward.
Cllr Peter Wharf said: “I really do need, if I’m to take this seriously, some indication that you are going to listen to valid and well thought out plans that we make because my experience is so far you have not.”
Cllr Ronald Coatsworth added: “I’m very apprehensive about the future in West Dorset.
“You make up communities which don’t actually exist and you are not prepared to listen to the people.
“All I ask you to do is actually listen to what we want, we have got better ideas than you have.”
Lead commissioner for the review from the LGBCE Peter Knight said that the organisation had to balance a number of criteria and insisted that, while they would listen to all representations made, they may not always agree with the suggestions of local members.