Time for change

IT’S now our turn to tell the Boundary Commission how many district councillorswethinkweneed inBromsgrove – the Conservative councillors proposed 31, Labour 44 and Ratepayers 36.

Well, as a guide Worcestershire’s six district councils at present administer a population of about 557,400 with 227 district councillors within 121 council wards – which suggests about 2,500 residents per councillor.

The district of Bromsgrove, with its present 39 councillors, serves a population of about 93,400, so this averages out at about 2,400 residents per councillor – so 31 would increase this to about 3,000.

However, the council leader had initially wanted single councillor wards which would mean 23 with the present number of wards. Yet let’s make some comparisonswiththe other five district councils using their websites.

Most of Worcestershire’s district councillors now seem to have a basic annual allowance of £4,200 – with Worcester city councillors on £3,990 and Wyre Forest on £4,900 – so fewer councillors could create large savings.

Also, most council wards within the rest of Worcestershire have either two orthreedistrict councillors –whichcan be beneficial if councillors are prepared to work together or alternatively lets people choose which councillor they prefer to work with – or even able to conveniently contact. As for local councils, the largest district, Wychavon, has three town and 70 parish councils within a population of 117,000 and the smallest, Malvern Hills, has 54 parish/town councils within a population of 75,400.

Bromsgrove, however, has only 20 parish councils and no town council – so why so few?

The newly-named larger wards the Boundary Commission will create could possibly be the basis for the formation of new local councils if enough interest is shown – Bromsgrove needs changes and the town especially a unique identity.

In fact, before the creation of Bromsgrove District Council in 1974, Bromsgrove was split into an urban council – whichcouldbeconsideredatowncouncil in its time – and a separate rural council, but bigger is not always better.

The large council of Hereford and Worcester was also created in 1974 yet was eventually abolished in 1998 after a determined campaignbythe people of Herefordshire – a case of people power achieving the change they wanted.

Anyway, the people of Bromsgrove have until May 6 to send their views on Bromsgrove and its council – the simplest way being by e-mailing to review@lgbce.org.uk with full details available at lgbce.org.uk.

M Guest, The Flats, Bromsgrove

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