County divisions – have your say on changes
New boundaries are being proposed for council divisions in Surrey County Council including in Epsom and Ewell.
The Local Government Boundary Commission wants to hear what residents and local organisations think about the proposals. A ten-week consultation on the proposals will run until 16 October 2023.
The Commission is the independent body that draws these boundaries. It is reviewing Surrey to make sure councillors will represent about the same number of electors, and that division arrangements will help the council work effectively.
The Commission has published proposals for changes to Surrey. It is proposing that there should be 81 single-councillor divisions.
In respect of Epsom and Ewell the Commission reports:
“Epsom & Ewell has been allocated five councillors, each councillor representing on average 6% more electors than the county average.
We received two proposals for this borough, from the Council, who proposed a minimal level of change from the existing division arrangements, and from the Epsom & Ewell Constituency Labour Party. The proposal from the local Labour Party, while offering helpful information about deprivation levels throughout the borough, and proposing 100% coterminosity, offered poor levels of electoral equality for several divisions, including 12% fewer electors than average in Town division, and 21% more electors than average in Epsom Common & Downs.
Epsom Town & Downs, Epsom West and West Ewell
We have adopted the Council’s proposals for these divisions. The Labour proposal, which kept entire wards within single divisions throughout the borough, placed Stamford ward within a southern division, proposed to be called Epsom Common & Downs, resulting in very poor electoral inequality for this ward. In contrast, the Council’s proposal, while splitting wards, offered good electoral equality, and used the strong boundary of the railway line through the centre of Epsom Town.
The only proposed change from the existing divisions we are making is to unify Horton ward within Epsom West division, placing electors on Oakwood Avenue, McKenzie Way and neighbouring streets in Epsom West division. This was proposed by the Council, and both improves coterminosity, and ensures that these electors are not isolated within West Ewell division as they are at present, and we have adopted it as part of our draft recommendations. The remaining boundaries of West Ewell division, including the borough wards of Ruxley, West Ewell and the northern section of Court ward, are unchanged from the existing arrangements.
Ewell and Ewell Court, Auriol & Cuddington
Both proposals received suggested identical boundaries for these divisions, which we have adopted as part of our draft recommendations. There was a disagreement over the name of Ewell division, with the Labour proposal suggesting retaining the existing name, while the Council proposal suggested replicating the names of the constituent borough wards, and naming this division as Stoneleigh, Ewell Village & Nonsuch.
We considered this proposed name change carefully but, while retaining an open mind, have not included it as part of our draft recommendations. While we note that the northernmost division (Ewell Court, Auriol & Cuddington) has a name comprising the three wards constituting the division, we note that we are proposing to retain the existing boundaries for Ewell division, and that it may cause confusion for electors if the name of the division is changed but the boundaries remain unchanged. The Council did not provide significant evidence in favour of its proposed name, and we would welcome further evidence from residents and other interested parties as to whether a different name might better reflect the communities in this area.
Launching the consultation Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said: “We want people in Surrey to help us.
“We have drawn up proposals for new divisions in Surrey. We want to make sure these new electoral arrangements reflect communities. We also want them to be easy to understand and convenient for local people. Residents and local organisations can help us do that. We would like them to let us know whether they agree with our proposals before we take final decisions.
“It’s easy to get involved. Go to our website. Or you can e-mail or write to us. Just tell us what you think and give us some details why you think that. It’s really simple, so do get involved.”
The Commission has a dedicated section on its website where people can see the detail of the proposals and comment on the names of divisions and their boundaries: https://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/surrey.
People can also give their views by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and by post:
Review Officer (Surrey) LGBCE, PO Box 133 Blyth NE24 9FE
This consultation relates to arrangements for local government elections. It is separate from the review of parliamentary constituencies that has recently concluded.
An interactive map is available at https://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/surrey
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is an independent body accountable to Parliament. It recommends fair electoral and boundary arrangements for local authorities in England. In doing so, it aims to:
- Make sure that, within an authority, each councillor represents a similar number of electors
- Create boundaries that are appropriate, and reflect community ties and identities
- Deliver reviews informed by local needs, views and circumstances
- Reflect the request for single-member divisions