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Developing division proposals

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has now completed its review. 

Please refer to our Electoral Review of Cornwall Council 2016-18 web page for the latest information.

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On 4 December 2018, the Commission published the final recommendations for Cornwall and updated their interactive maps to show the final recommendations. Further information is available on the Commission website.

We have also updated the Cornwall Council interactive mapping

On 5 June 2018, the Local Government Boundary Commission for England published draft recommendations for Cornwall. The Commission also published interactive maps of their draft recommendations.

The Commission conducted a period of public consultation on the proposed new council divisions, division boundaries and division names across Cornwall. Consultation on draft recommendations for new electoral divisions closed on 17 September 2018.

This page provides some guidance but you might also want to refer to:

It was really important that the LGBCE’s criteria were observed.  Proposals that did not observe these criteria were likely to be given less weight than proposals that accorded with the criteria.  It was therefore very important to have regard to these criteria in putting forward views on the development of division boundaries.

The LGBCE were required to balance these statutory criteria:

  • To deliver electoral equality where each councillor represents roughly the same number of electors as others across the Council;
  • That the pattern of divisions should, as far as possible, reflect the interests and identities of local communities; and
  • That the electoral arrangements should provide for effective and convenient local government

In relation to electoral equality, the average electorate we had to aim for in each division was 5,163, based on the 2023 electorate forecasts. The Commission allowed a tolerance of ±10% from this average which meant the electorate range was 4,647 to 5,679.

In exceptional circumstances where there was a sound justification the Commission would allow this range to be exceeded. However, the further away from the average we were, the greater the risk was of electorate inequality occurring sooner and triggering another electoral review. 

If the Commission’s permitted range of electors was not observed they were likely to give proposals less weight.

In addition to the LGBCE criteria, the Council decided to apply additonal criteria to the development of its own division proposals and recognised that specific local conditions may affect the application of these criteria: 

  • Single Member divisions;
  • A balance between preserving parish boundaries and Community Network Area boundaries be sought, recognising both as fundamental priorities;
  • A sympathetic approach to the separation between rural and urban areas; and
  • Existing polling districts to be kept, except where sub-divisions were necessary to assist in the creation of new divisions with appropriate numbers of electors and, in such cases, account should be taken of the location of suitable buildings for use as polling stations

The building blocks for creating electoral divisions are polling districts.  These are small areas used for electoral purposes and in each polling district we have an identified number of electors. 

For the purposes of this electoral review we used the forecast electorate for 2023, as required by the LGBCE. The electorate forecasts can be accessed through our Electorate forecast information page. 

We wanted to try to keep polling districts whole but it was occasionally necessary to sub-divide some polling districts to come up with the best fit. 

The LGBCE consultation material asked residents these questions:

  • Do you have suggestions about where your division boundaries should be?
  • Which areas do you identify as your local community?
  • Where do people in your area go to access local facilities such as shops and leisure activities?

Their guidance set out these more helpful prompts:

  • Transport links – Are there good communication links within the proposed ward or division? Is there any form of public transport? If you are proposing that two areas (e.g. villages, estates or parishes) should be included in the same ward or division together, how easily can you travel between them?
  • Community groups – Is there a residents group or any other local organisation that represents the area? What area does that group cover? What kind of activities do they undertake and are there any joint-working relationships between organisations that could indicate shared community interests between different geographical areas?
  • Facilities – Where do local people in your area go for shopping, medical services, leisure facilities etc? The location of public facilities can represent the centre or focal point of a community. We would like to hear evidence from local people about how they interact with those facilities so that we can understand the shape of local communities and the movement and behaviours of their residents.
  • Identifiable boundaries – Natural features such as rivers, valleys and woodland can often provide strong and recognisable boundaries. Similarly, constructions such as major roads and railway lines can also form well known barriers between communities.
  • Parishes - In areas where parishes exist, the parish boundaries often represent the extent of a community. In fact, the Commission often uses parishes as the building blocks of wards and electoral divisions.
  • Shared interests – Are there particular issues that affect your community which aren’t necessarily relevant to neighbouring areas that might help us determine where a ward or division boundary should be drawn? For example, many local authorities contain areas which have urban, suburban and rural characteristics. Each of those areas may have different needs and interests though they could be located next to each other. One area might be more affected by urban issues such as the local economy while an adjacent area might be more concerned with local transport matters. We would like to hear evidence about what those issues are and how they mean ward boundaries should combine or separate the areas in question.

The Commission said:

“The Commission will test proposals against the criteria before drawing up draft recommendations. Accordingly, all proposals should demonstrate how they meet the three requirements. The Commission will take decisions based on the strength of the evidence presented to it and not merely on assertion. For example, details of community interests such as the location and use made of local facilities, services and local organisations demonstrating how a community manifests itself will carry greater weight than submissions that simply assert that an area has community identity.

The Commission considered all submissions on their merit. A well-evidenced submission from an individual which addressed the three statutory criteria was expected to be more persuasive than one which did not, even if the latter was from an elected individual or body.”

All proposals should have been submitted direct to the Commission, but the Council’s Electoral Review Panel was also keen to understand consultation responses submitted to the LGBCE and to receive comments from local councils, the public and other stakeholders on how the new electoral divisions should be formed.