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Boundary Commission advises against Croydon plans to cut councillors

Proposals to cut the members of London Borough of Croydon from 70 councillors to 60 have been opposed by the Local Government Boundary Commission (LGBC) as it opened an inquiry into the proposals.

In a letter to Jo Negrini, chief executive of the council, to mark the opening of the consultation, Jolyon Jackson, CEO of the LGBC, said: “The commission is minded to recommend that 70 borough councillors should be elected to the London Borough of Croydon in future.”

The idea to reduce the number of members was suggested by the Conservative councillors group in the council following a boundary review requested by the Labour group.

The review argued that cutting the number of councillors would make the running of the council more “lean and efficient” and save around £112,000 in councillors’ allowances.

It argued that the workload of councillors is decreasing, with at least 10 Croydon councillors attending less than 10 formal meetings a year, so the increased workload would only require councillors to attend an average of 1.2 more meetings.

It also said that other London boroughs have had more significant cuts – for example, Bexley Council voluntarily reduced its members from 63 to 45 – and the changes would mean an average of 5,144 adult residents for each councillor, which is less than occurs in some wards currently.

The report also noted that although Croydon’s population is going to increase, this will “generate less casework” because it will mainly be in private apartment developments, which are less likely to generate environmental and planning problems or to have residents which require benefits.

However, Croydon council as a whole is opposed to the proposals, saying that the number of councillors should remain the same in light of the population increase and the council’s increasing powers. These include devolution of powers to the council, an alliance with the local CCG for health and social care for over 65s, and taking the lead on a four-borough waste and street service.

The consultation is open until 5 December. To take part, click here.

(Image c. Nick Ansell from PA Wire and Press Association Images)

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