A PowerPoint presentation was provided a copy of which was circulated at the meeting together with the associated maps which demonstrated the proposed changes to the preferred option for the electoral review.
Following consultation minor errors in respect of certain figures which had been identified at the meeting of the Board held on 23 January 2013 had been corrected and subsequent adjustments made. Such amendments were in relation to East Middlesbrough in respect of the proposed Neptune, Brambles and Pallister boundary and a minor change to Linthorpe Village and West Linthorpe as shown in red on the plans displayed at the meeting.
The Board was advised of Officers further examination of the proposals from a development perspective in the context of the Boundary Commissions criteria which in the main were considered reasonably secure with the exception of the projected electors for the proposed Ironmasters and Central Wards at -6.45% and -4.54% respectively.
In terms of the community profiles specific reference was made to the Longlands area which was considered to have more affinity with the proposed Central Ward rather than the North Ormesby and Breckon Hill Ward. Reference was also made to the possible inclusion of the Eagle Park estate within the Nunthorpe Ward although possible adjustments and consequent adjustments which would be required were still being examined.
The Boards attention was drawn to projected elector numbers and changes to the proposed Central Ward as shown on the plan displayed with particular regard to the areas in the east and Ironmasters Ward which had resulted in numbers much closer to the target figures. Although to be considered further specific reference was also made to the suggested move of St. Johns Gate from the proposed Central Ward to North Ormesby and Breckon Hill Ward.
Members were advised of the potential development of the Clairville Stadium site and in terms of the overall exercise it was considered prudent that it should be taken into account. The area had been moved from the proposed Belle Vue Ward into the Central Ward and also Albert Park which although it did not impact on the numbers it regularised the line of the ward boundary.
A table was provided which identified the latest position with regard to the proposed 23 Wards which were two member wards with the exception of the Marton Ward a three member ward and Stainton and Thornton Villages a one member ward. In each case the projected 2018 elector figures and current variance to the average of 5% and 10% were included.
It was acknowledged that at this stage of the process the preferred option had resulted in a few irregular boundaries but the proposals strived to reflect community identity and the best fit in terms of electoral equality.
Officers sought Members comments on the format of the first draft of the report on the Electoral Review 2013 to be submitted to the Board, Council and the Boundary Commission. The main components of the report were identified as follows:-
- Background Information
- Consideration of the Warding Pattern for the Town including the need to secure equality of representation; the need to reflect the identities and interests of local communities; the need to secure effective and convenient local government;
- Explanation of Council Process
- Initial Considerations taking into account future proofing, projected build and demolitions
- Member Workshops
- Information provided by Community Regeneration Officers
- Community Consultation
- Consideration of options.
It was confirmed that all Community Councils had been contacted and advised that should they have any comments they be submitted either to the Council or direct to the Boundary Commission by the closing date of 18 February 2013. It was noted that no submissions had as yet been received but given the short timescale for the overall exercise many of the Community Councils had yet to discuss the matter although a number were due to meet this week.
Councillor Williams suggested that paragraph 7.3 and Table 2 of the report submitted be not included for the purpose of this report. The Board was advised that whilst very similar to Councillor Williams proposals the Conservative Group had made some changes and there were a few where agreement could not be reached.
It was suggested that in order to demonstrate the overall consultation process the detailed figures be taken out of the report but that a reference be made in general terms that an opportunity had been given for Members to submit proposals and that subsequent detailed proposals had been received and presented.
Although boundaries were still being examined an example was provided of a suggested template for a document as part of the submission to the Boundary Commission which outlined detailed consideration of proposals for each revised ward. It was intended that such a document would include brief information on each ward together with a map and a table which indicated the proposed ward name, proposed number of councillors, electorate forecast for 2018, variance, and evidence and rationale of Boundary Commissions criteria of equality of representation, community identify and interests, and effective and convenient local government.
ORDERED as follows:-
1. That in order to complete the necessary refinements to certain ward boundaries and associated documentation the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board scheduled for 6 February 2013 be cancelled and re-arranged for 7 February 2013 at 2.00 p.m.
2. That the draft documents as submitted form the basis of the detailed report and supporting information for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Board at its meeting to be held on 7 February 2013 subject to the replacement of paragraph 7.3 and Table 2 with a general reference to the proposals presented by Councillor Williams and the Conservative Group.
3. That Officers be thanked for the significant work undertaken.