Thanet council has ditched plans for a review that would have slashed councillor seats

Thanet council

A proposal to axe the number of district councillors for Thanet has been ditched.

There are currently 56 councillors  made up of 25 UKIP; 21 Conservative; 6 Labour; 2 Independent Group and 2 Independent councillors.

A proposal had been made for a review by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to examine the number, boundaries and names of wards and the number of councillors to be elected to each in Thanet

The proposal was to chop councillor numbers to 36.

The review was approved at a meeting of full council on October 12 with the decision on councillor numbers delegated to the Chief Executive in consultation with Councillors Matterface, Wells and Bayford. It was to be “informed by a members briefing” last week.

But, following that briefing on Friday, the plan has been dropped. It means the next opportunity for a Boundary Commission review will not be until 2023.

In a message to members, council leader Chris Wells said: “Following the discussion on Friday evening it was clear there was little appetite amongst councillors to support a boundary review at this time.

“The huge amount of work that could be involved in a minor change in numbers at a time when our resources are already stretched seems to leave us with maximum pain for little gain.

“I have agreed with the Chief Executive (pictured below) and the available group leaders to cancel the review for this Autumn.

“For the record, as Leader I think this is a missed opportunity for councillors to show real community leadership. As a merged council earlier this year we were looking at 27 councillors for our area.

“What will emerge now in the press, I suspect, is a picture of councillors putting their own interests first at a time of redundancy and reorganisation for staff.

“By the next time slot for review, 2023, we will have not reviewed councillor numbers for 22 years. However, by then, the impact of housing growth should finally be clear; although it is interesting to note that electoral number growth since 2001 to today is only 2%; family and population growth around 10%; the reduction in our revenue expenditure for the council around 13%.

“The next question is if there remains appetite for reviewing Margate Charter Trustees as an alternative.”

The council considered proposals for a single authority across Kent in March 2017, these proposals were not agreed by all of the four councils and so they did not progress.

However, the decision means the authority now has to save an additional £2million per year, requiring ‘significant restructuring.’

Thanet council’s Director of Community Services, Rob Kenyon, took voluntary redundancy this month after less than two years as the first part of a corporate restructure planned for TDC.

1 Comment

  1. Why do we need less elected councillors and m p s while the unelected and undemocratic House of Lords is growing by the year,

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