Mansfield council gets set for major shake-up in how the district will be divvied up politically
Mansfield looks set for a shake-up in its geographic-political make-up after a Government review determined there was an imbalance in workload for many of its elected members.
Mansfield District Council comprises 36 electoral wards and the review has been triggered by the Local Government Boundary Commission, after it emerged some councillors are putting in 35 hours per week dealing with residents' issues – when the average is around 10.
The review, which is currently underway, would see the same number of electoral wards but boundaries altered to ensure each councillor represents 2,425 residents – with a 10 per cent give either way.
A council report states: “This review has been triggered as a result of the electoral imbalance which has arisen in more than 30 per cent of the council’s wards.
“These electoral imbalances arise if voters are either over or under represented by their councillor when compared with average representation across the authority.”
The review began in February this year and, after the commission agreed that the authority should retain 36 wards, the council has now moved onto the second stage.
On Tuesday, councillors met at Samworth Church Academy to discuss the proposed new ward map for the district.
Exact details have not yet been revealed, but the council must provide the commission with projected future resident numbers and a local consultation period finishes at the end of the month.
The commission is set to reveal its draft recommendation for the area in August, which will then go out for a second period, before the new arrangements are put into place from February 2022 – if they get the green light.
A report from the commission states: “The majority of members undertook between five to 10 hours each week of interacting with constituents via email, telephone and ward surgeries, whilst 30 per cent spent between 10 and 35 hours per week on these activities.
“Members reported an increase in contact being made by members of the public and businesses generated by the on-going public health situation, but also that the scope and nature of the issues had increased. It was anticipated that this increased caseload would continue with the after effects of the pandemic.”
The report states that the new ward arrangements are also crucial as 6,500 new homes look set to be built in the district in future years, as identified in the authority’s Local Plan.
One mooted option was to remove Warsop Vale from the same ward as Church Warsop, which now appears to have been axed following opposition from ward councillors.
They stated: “Removing Warsop Vale from the same ward as Church Warsop is splitting it from the only part of the district the residents feel a connection to, due to them using the doctors surgery and the children attending Church Vale school which is in Church Warsop.”
Meanwhile, objection was also raised to the creation of new ward boundary which would have seen Debdale Lane divided into two different wards, combining the Westfield Lane area with the Ladybrook estate, and splitting Pheasant Hill over two wards.