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Agenda item

Community Governance Review

To approve the commencement of a Borough-wide Community Governance Review.

Subject To Call In::Yes - No action to be taken prior to the expiry of the call-in period.

Decision:

1.       That the commencement of a Boroughwide Community Governance Review be AGREED.

2.       That the draft Terms of Reference, attached to the report at Appendix 1, be APPROVED.

3.       That a Community Governance Review Working Group consisting of seven Members be established, with those Members being nominated by Group Leaders, and that authority to determine the membership of the Working Group be delegated to the Borough Solicitor, in consultation with the Leader of the Council.

Minutes:

8.1            The report of the Head of Democratic Services, circulated at Pages No. 26-35, sought approval for the commencement of a Boroughwide Community Governance Review. Members were asked to agree to the Review; approve the Terms of Reference as attached to the report; and authorise the Borough Solicitor to determine the membership of the Working Group, in consultation with the Leader of the Council following nominations from Group Leaders.

8.2            The Borough Solicitor explained that the Council was now the responsible body for undertaking a Community Governance Review in its area with the advice being to undertake a review every 10 to 15 years. Tewkesbury Borough Council’s last full review had been undertaken in 2003 and a lot of development had taken place in the interim which had given rise to a number of anomalies meaning that some houses next to each other were in different Parishes - this caused confusion for residents and resulted in issues at election time for people attending the wrong polling station because their actual polling station was further away than the one geographically closer to them. To begin the review process, the Committee had to determine the Terms of Reference and then work could commence immediately to ensure any changes could be made in time for the next Borough and Parish elections in 2023. The next stage would be to consult the people affected, including the electorate, the County Council and Parish and Town Councils. Once those responses were received, some proposals could be formed for the Working Group to consider. In terms of the Working Group membership, it was suggested that seven Councillors would be ideal and that, preferably, they would be people that had an interest in the topic as it would involve quite a lot of work in a short time. The Working Group would then make proposals to Executive Committee to make a recommendation to Council which could include things like changing the name of a Parish, merging Parishes, agreeing a different number of Councillors. A Member questioned whether the population increases following development would be looked at as part of the review and it was confirmed that they would – although population was not a determining factor in the same way as it had been when the Borough Wards were reviewed. The Borough Solicitor expressed the view that there was never a good time to undertake a review as the amount of development would always change but now would be the best time to ensure any changes could be made for the next election cycle. The Member also noted that Parishes already struggled to get enough Councillors to be quorate so this would need to be taken into account if it was decided that numbers needed to change. The Borough Solicitor agreed that this was a relevant consideration. She reminded Members that the Community Governance Review would only look at Parish boundaries and any consequential amendments to Borough Wards – it would not review the Borough Wards or District Boundaries.

8.3            Accordingly, it was

Action By:BS

Supporting documents: