Should parish councillors be axed?

HORSHAM District Council is undertaking a review to consider how local communities are represented in the Horsham District.

As part of, what is known as, the community governance review, consultees are being asked for their views on a possible reduction in the number of parish councillors across all parishes.

The review is an opportunity for anyone interested to consider creating, merging, grouping, altering or abolishing parishes, the naming of parishes and style of new parishes and the electoral arrangements for parishes.

This could be the overall number of councillors, parish warding and number of councillors for those wards.

At the last parish council elections in May 2011, of the 40 parishes/parish wards up for election only seven were contested.

Twenty one had insufficient candidates and therefore had to co-opt members.

Every 10 to 15 years the Government recommends a review and the last review was completed in 2001.

As part of the review, an Electoral Arrangements Committee will be set up at Horsham District Council comprising five Members – four Conservative and one Liberal Democrat.

The Committee will be appointed to consider representations received in respect of the review, approve draft proposals for consultation and consider responses to the consultation.

It will also make recommendations to Council in respect of the final proposals.

Horsham District Council will be guided by the relevant legislation and guidance, in particular the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 and Guidance on Community Governance Reviews.

Initial comments and suggestions will be welcomed before Monday 28 May 2012.

The review will be initiated this year, with a view to implementing any changes at the next parish council elections in May 2015.

Anyone interested can submit their views in writing to Judy Buckley, Electoral Services Officer, Horsham District Council, Park North, North Street, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1RL, or by email to elections@horsham.gov.uk.

For further information, please contact 01403 215126 or visit the Horsham District Council website (www.horsham.gov.uk).