DORSET is having a review of the political make up of the county.

By law this must be done every decade or so. As the new council has now been in place for a couple of years it seemed a good time to do the review. It is the opportunity to change town and parish council boundaries, merge or split them, change the number of councillors, etc.

On Tuesday last week Weymouth Town Council voted through its proposals to the review. I was pleased when we decided to do the review. One of the principles that I, and many other councillors from various parties, stood on was there were too many councillors on Weymouth Town Council. There were 29 on the Weymouth bit of the old Weymouth and Portland District Council. That council was about 10 times the size in terms of the amount of money it was responsible for spending as lots of its old responsibilities have transferred to Dorset Council.

To my great distress, the submission Weymouth passed wasn’t to decrease the number of councillors, it was to increase the number. All of the Conservatives voted against the increase, near enough all of the other party members voted for the increase. We argued the case for reducing the numbers of councillors to 17 but this was rejected by Weymouth.

Lots of the councillors who voted for increasing the numbers argued well intentioned cases. They looked at the number of voters per councillor from places all over the country. They really believe that increasing the councillors is the right thing to do. I think they are missing the point. Many councillors stood on a platform of decreasing the number of councillors.

It doesn’t matter very much what we think now. We promised to do something if we were elected, people voted for us on that basis. That is what we should do.

The good news is that it isn’t just councillors who can take part in this debate. Dorset will be collecting all of the proposals together across all of Dorset and going out to the public for your opinions. We will publicise widely when we do. Make sure Dorset knows what you think about the proposals.

Cllr Tony Ferrari

Sutton Poyntz