12:45PM, Friday 13 July 2018
Windsor will be ‘virtually wiped out’ by boundary changes which will reduce the number of Royal Borough wards from 23 to 19, a councillor has claimed.
The Boundary Commission’s final recommendations, published on Tuesday, will also see the number of borough councillors reduced from 57 to 41 for next year’s local elections.
The plans will also see major boundary changes in Windsor, with Eton and Windsor town centres merged and Windsor Great Park absorbed by Old Windsor as the number of wards are reduced.
On Twitter, Cllr Wisdom Da Costa (Ind, Clewer North) said: “Shameful to see the Boundary Commission virtually wiping out Windsor in the proposed new boundaries for May 2019 local elections.”
Leader of the opposition Lynne Jones (Ind, Old Windsor) expressed similar views after big changes were announced for her ward.
She told the Express: “It would never give equal representation; the maths just doesn’t add up.
“They should have made them for the 2023 elections.
“Now the officers have to pull out all the stops for next year’s elections – it’s a mess.”
She said it is ‘absolutely right’ to reduce the number of councillors but she had previously recommended 47 to 45 ‘would fit’.
She added the Royal Borough ‘lost control’ of the review when its proposal for 43 councillors was rejected.
Cllr Jones said: “I feel like I should walk into Maidenhead Town Hall with a sticker on my head saying ‘I told you so’.”
The purpose of the changes is to deliver electoral equality, with each councillor representing roughly the same number of people – about 2,250 to 3,000 in the plans.
The new recommendations will mean only three wards – Eton and Castle, Ascot and Sunninghill and Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury – will be represented by three councillors, with the rest served by two.
Sunninghill and South Ascot will be absorbed by two different wards – Ascot and Sunninghill and Sunningdale and Cheapside.
Datchet will be integrated into the Horton and Wraysbury ward and it will be called Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury.
The Clewer North ward and Clewer South wards will be reshaped into Clewer and Dedworth West and Clewer and Dedworth East, while Clewer East will remain.
Castle Without will become part of Eton and Castle.
Cllr Ross McWilliams (Con, Cox Green), chairman of the electoral review working group, said: “We welcome the final recommendations put forward by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England which improve electoral equality across the borough and ensure that we have a warding pattern and the right number of councillors to help us build a borough that works for everyone.
“We recognise that these changes represent a significant change for many in Windsor.”
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