On 16th August 2010 at 2.04 pm, Wally Westley replied to my query that “The number of Borough Councillors is set by the Government and the Boundary Commission. My personal view is that there are too many and that the number could be reduced by 50%”.
I replied “As for the number of councillors, why don’t you instigate a review of WLBC with the Boundary Commission? Perhaps the county might be trimmed down too?”
Back came Wally at 3.55pm, with his head in the sand “I would not want to waste money on a Boundary Commission Review or the resultant election. There are far more important matters and it would only be an unnecessary distraction”.
Moving on over ten years since that crass nonsense, we have another review. OWLs have submitted their views. “This submission sets out the response of the Our West Lancashire Group on West Lancashire Borough Council to the LGBCE’s invitation to put forward a case for Council Size.
At the meeting of Full Council on 22 July 2020 it was resolved that the Council would maintain elections by Thirds. It must be noted this was the view only of the majority group on the council. The Conservative and Our West Lancashire Groups wished to move to all-out elections or elections by halves to retain small single-member wards that better reflect the rural nature of parts of the Borough.
The Our West Lancashire Group was represented on the Electoral Review Working Group (ERWG) which considered the council size matter and has had the benefit of the assessment of the work of the Council, and the roles and responsibilities of its elected members prepared by council officers and which informed the submission of West Lancashire Borough Council.
Our West Lancashire considers that a council size of 39 [or 36] Councillors, elected by thirds, will be able to secure effective local government. However, we have concerns that three-member wards elected by thirds will make the subsequent task of maintaining strong community identities and interests in the Borough more difficult when ward boundaries are drawn. For that reason, we favour all out elections so that wards in rural areas do not have to cover very extensive geographical areas. We recognise also that all-out elections are the ‘direction of travel’ in local government.
We note that the decision to maintain elections by thirds was not unanimous and does not have the support of the two opposition groups and may be changed after the May 2021 elections.
That’s a flavour of the OWL submission. There is much more. We doubt they changed their minds after just one hour and fifty one minutes.
Read the document here