The Chair requested representatives of the political groups and Members to present their suggested proposals for the electoral review.
Councillor Cox presented the MICA proposals and in his initial comments challenged the projected number of electors and new build houses with particular regard to East Middlesbrough and gave details of the affected areas.
One proposal was for the MTLC site (from MTLC to Trentham Avenue) to transfer to the Beckfield Ward providing over 437 new build properties and around 720 approximately, new electors resulting in 4,354 electors well within the variance of the target figure.
In order to reduce councillor numbers by two the Group proposed the amalgamation of the Middlehaven and University Wards resulting in 6,814 electors and adding a further 333 electors by transferring five streets as identified from Gresham Ward into a three Member new combined ward.
Although Gresham would have 4,993 which was slightly over target the suggestion of the Group was to transfer electors in a small area identified and it would become a two Member ward.
It was stated that such proposals involved little disruption to the public as possible whilst retaining community identity and cohesion.
Following the presentation several Members commented that the proposals were too simplistic and that a whole Town approach was required in order to satisfy the requirements of the Boundary Commission.
Councillor C Hobson reported on the Conservative Group proposals which for the purpose of this meeting did not include detailed figures.
The majority of wards were currently considered to have the satisfactory proportions but suggested the merger of the Middlehaven, University and Gresham Wards into two wards. Reference was also made to the potential of reducing Marton by 1.9% and to increasing Nunthorpe up to 5%.
A suggestion was also made for changes to Stainton and Thornton, and Hemlington with consequent revisions to wards such as Beckfield, Brookfield the detailed numbers for which had not yet been determined.
Other Board Members reiterated the Boundary Commissions requirements in terms of submitting figures in support of any submissions.
Councillor Williams gave a detailed presentation a copy of which was circulated at the meeting on proposals for future ward boundaries for communities referred to as:-
1. South Eastern Group of Communities (Marton, Marton Manor, Tollesby, Prissick estates, Easterside),
2. South Western Group of Communities (Coulby Newham, Hemlington, Stainton and Thornton),
3. Communities North West of the A174 Parkway (Sandy Flatts, Brookfield, Trimdon Avenue, Most of Acklam, Tollesby),
4. Communities North of Green Lane and Mandale Road (West End, Whinney Banks, Levick Crescent, Linthorpe, Linthorpe Village) ,
5. East Middlesbrough Group of Communities (Netherfields, Ormesby, Priestfields, Park End, Thorntree, Town Farm, Brambles Farm, Pallister, Berwick Hills, North Ormesby) and
6. Communities in the Town Centre and East of Albert Park and Acklam (a large number of communities predominantly covered by Beechwood, Clairville, University, Gresham, Middlehaven).
In order to avoid triggering another electoral review minor ward boundary changes were suggested resulting in an enlarged Nunthorpe Ward of 4172 (-5.5%) and a smaller Marton West Ward of 4131 (-6.5%) and enlarged Ladgate Ward possibly taking in the new build area of the former Police HQ site and Scholars Rise unless it reduced the estimated Marton West electorate well below 4195.
In relation to group 2 and in an endeavour to achieve the correct numbers a suggestion was made for approximately 600 electors in Dales Park estate transferring from the present Stainton and Thornton Ward into Hemlington Ward resulting in a three Member ward of Coulby Newham 6780 (+2.4%), two Member ward of a new enlarged Hemlington Ward 4702 (+6.4%), and a one Member smaller Stainton and Thornton Ward 2102 (-4.8%).
With regard to Group 3 and to avoid the risk of triggering another electoral review it was considered that at least 738 electors would have to transfer from the present Brookfield Ward. A number of suggested changes were put forward with consequent changes to Kader Ward resulting in three, two member wards of a smaller Brookfield Ward 4775 (-8.1%), a new Kader Ward 4752 (+7.6%) and a new Acklam Ward 4769 (+8.0%).
In respect of group 4, it was proposed that the Ayresome Ward boundaries should remain but other changes were suggested resulting in a two member ward of Ayresome 4576 (+3.6%), a three member changed Linthorpe Ward 6980 (+5.4%) and a two member enlarged Park Ward 4653 (+5.4%).
Whilst it was suggested that the group of communities within group 5 could continue it was indicated that they could be arranged differently as outlined for five, two member wards. It was pointed out that one of the difficulties was one of the boundaries between two wards which would divide the Thorntree community.
The communities in group 6 included a large number of communities but it was considered that few had clearly identifiable boundaries. It was suggested that the remaining area of the Town should only have nine councillors instead of the present eleven councillors. Details were provided as to how this could be achieved with changes to the ward boundaries of the current Park, Beechwood, Clairville, University, Gresham and MIddlehaven Wards.
The overall proposals created 22 wards three of which namely, Coulby Newham, Linthorpe and Central would be three member wards, 18 two member wards and Stainton and Thornton a one member ward giving a total of 46 councillors.
Members thanked Councillor Williams for his hard work in compiling a comprehensive report which demonstrated the difficulty in undertaking the exercise of a Town wide approach. A Member concurred with the reservations expressed regarding certain boundaries and impact on communities with particular regard to Brambles Farm, North Ormesby, Thorntree, Boyds estate and the proposed Central Ward.
Councillor Bloundele gave an overview of the Labour Group proposals which took into account the projected 2018 elector figures, identified communities and areas of new build in accordance with the Boundary Commission's criteria.
The proposals represented a town wide approach and involved changes to all of the current wards. An indication was given of the changes to polling districts and voter transfers and changes to ward boundaries as shown on the plan displayed at the meeting.
The proposals involved the following changes but the likelihood of having to make some adjustments was acknowledged :-
Ward 1 covered the present ward of University and parts of Middlehaven with a proposed new ward of Central with a -0.32% variance on the optimum figure;
Ward 2 covered parts of the present Gresham, Ayresome and Middlehaven Wards with a proposed new ward of Ironmasters;
Ward 3 covered parts of the present Gresham, Linthorpe, Ayresome and Park Wards with a proposed new ward of Crescent;
Ward 4 covered parts of the present Ayresome and Kader Wards with a proposed new ward of Acklam Green;
Ward 5 covered parts of the present North Ormesby and University Wards with a new ward of North Ormesby and Breckon Hill in an endeavour to keep communities together rather than in East Middlesbrough;
Ward 6 covered parts of the present Linthorpe and Park Wards with a proposed new ward of West Linthorpe;
Ward 7 covered parts of the present Park, Linthorpe and Clairville Wards with a proposed new ward of LInthorpe Village;
Ward 8 covered parts of the present Pallister and Park End Wards with a proposed new ward of Neptune;
Ward 9 covered parts of the present Pallister, North Ormesby and Thorntree Wards with a proposed new ward of Brambles and Pallister;
Ward 10 covered parts of the present Acklam and Linthorpe Wards with a proposed new ward of Green Lane;
Ward 11 covered parts of the present Thorntree and Beckfield Wards with a proposed new ward of Thorntree;
Ward 12 covered parts of the present Park End and Beckfield Wards with a proposed new ward of Overdale;
Ward 13 covered parts of the present Acklam and Beechwood Wards with a proposed new ward of St Chads;
Ward 14 covered parts of the present Brookfield Ward with a proposed new ward of the same name but changed boundaries;
Ward 15 covered parts of the present Kader, Acklam and Brookfield Wards with a proposed new ward of South Acklam;
Ward 16 covered parts of the present Ladgate and Marton Wards with a proposed new ward of Ladgate;
Ward 17 covered parts of the present Stainton and Thornton Wards with a proposed new ward of Stainton and Thornton Villages;
Ward 18 covered parts of the present Hemlington, and Stainton and Thornton Wards with a proposed new ward of Hemlington;
Ward 19 covered parts of the present Coulby, Marton West, Kader and Hemlington Wards with a proposed new ward of Newham Grange;
Ward 20 covered parts of the present Coulby and Marton West Wards with a proposed new ward of Coulby Farm;
Ward 21 covered parts of the present Nunthorpe, Marton West and Coulby Wards with a proposed new ward of Nunthorpe;
Ward 22 covered parts of the present Marton and Marton West wards with a proposed new ward of Marton;
Ward 23 covered parts of the present Clairville and Beechwood wards with a proposed new ward of Belle Vue.
Members thanked Councillor Bloundele for the significant amount of work undertaken on a comprehensive review some proposals of which concurred with those proposed by Councillor Williams. Whilst clarification was sought with particular regard to areas of new build and their relationship with communities and ward boundaries the difficulties of achieving figures in accordance with the Boundary Commission's criteria which tried to avoid the risk of triggering another electoral review was reinforced. In general terms, Members reiterated the need to give careful consideration to the impact of any proposal on natural communities.
ORDERED that the Members be thanked for their presentations all of which would be taken into consideration prior to a decision being taken on the next stage of the overall process.