Agenda and minutes

Electoral Review Committee - Monday 26 June 2023 3.00 pm

Venue: Kennet Room - County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN. View directions

Contact: Lisa Alexander  01722 434560 Email:


No. Item


Election of Chairman 2023/24

To elect a Chairman for the forthcoming year.


The Democratic Services Officer opened the meeting and called for nominations for Chairman for 2023/24.


It was,




To elect Cllr Ashley O’Neill as Chairman for 2023/24.


Election of Vice-Chairman 2023/24

To elect a Vice-Chairman for the forthcoming year.


The Chairman called for nominations for Vice-Chairman for 2023/24.


It was,




To elect Cllr Gavin Grant as Vice-Chairman for 2023/24.



To receive any apologies or substitutions for the meeting.


Apologies were received from Councillors Ernie Clark and Allison Bucknell.


Councillor Bucknell attended part of the meeting remotely.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting

To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 20 April 2023.

Supporting documents:


The minutes of the meeting held on 20 April 2023 were presented, and it was,




To approve and sign the minutes as a true and correct record.



Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.


There were no declarations.


Chairman's Announcements

To reecive any announcements through the Chair.


There were no announcements.


Public Participation


If you would like to make a statement at this meeting on any item on this

agenda, please register to do so at least 10 minutes prior to the meeting. Up to 3speakers are permitted to speak for up to 3 minutes each on any agenda item.


Please contact the officer named on the front of the agenda for any further




To receive any questions from members of the public or members of the Council received in accordance with the constitution.


Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such

questions in writing to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on 20 June 2023 in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response questions must be submitted no later than 5pm on 22 June 2023.Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.


Details of any questions received will be circulated to Committee members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.


The Chairman invited the registered speakers to address the Committee under each relevant agenda item.


Community Governance Review 2022/23 - Consultation on Additional Draft Recommendations

To consider a report from the Director, Legal and Governance.

Supporting documents:


The Chairman provided details of the background of the ongoing Community Governance Review and presented a report on the consultation on the Additional Draft Recommendations, agreed by Committee on 20 April 2023.


For each recommendation the Chairman along with officers presented summaries of the responses to the consultation and issues that had been raised, before the Committee discussed the available options and determined what action to take.


It was noted that 19 responses were received on the online consultation portal during the consultation period of 10 May 2023 – 7 June 2023. There were also 8 further representations provided by email. All responses were included within Appendix A of the report.


Additional Draft Recommendation 1

Proposed changes to the boundaries and internal arrangements of Heywood Parish Council and Westbury Town Council, around the area of the Ham, currently divided between two parishes.


A statement was received from Mr Morland noting his comments on the Westbury Town Council submission and regarding neighbourhood plan details.


A statement was received from Cllr John Masson, Chairman of Heywood Parish Council regarding the reason for Heywood’s original scheme proposal, and disputing the submissions made by Westbury Town Council.


A statement was received from Cllr Philip Harcourt of Westbury Town Council clarifying how the Town Council’s proposals had come about, and that it was felt that the process had not gone smoothly and therefore the Town Council was now of the opinion that its preferred outcome would be for the boundaries to remain as they were.


A statement was received from Cllr Mike Sutton of Westbury Town Council, further confirming that the Town Council had submitted its proposal to initiate a debate on possible options for boundary changes. Attention was drawn to the previous inclusion of Vivash Urban Park in a recommendation by the Committee due to insufficient information.


The Unitary Division Member for Westbury East, Cllr Gordon King, noted that in addition to being the division member, he was also a Westbury Town Council Member, clarifying that he had made his own submission, separately to that of the Town Council. He contended that the Ham had always been part of Westbury and the old industrial estate of Westbury was locally known as Westbury Area Trading Estate, not West Wilts Trading Estate. Cllr King confirmed that he supported the position of the Town Council.


The Unitary Division Member for Ethandune which included Heywood, Cllr Suzanne Wickham, commented on the local referencing of the West Wilts Trading Estate, and that there were no voters in that area. Cllr Wickham raised concern regarding the tone and content of the Town Council’s latest submission in its comments relating to Heywood.


In response to the public statements, the Chairman noted that the Committee welcomed comments and ideas from all involved, receiving information as part as an evolving process enabled the Committee to make a judgement in line with the set criteria. The matter of Vivash Park came to light through the first consultation process as it had not been provided  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.


Update on Electoral Division Variance

To consider a report from the Director, Legal and Governance.

Supporting documents:


The Committee received an update on the electoral variance of Wiltshire Council Divisions.


The last Electoral Review was carried out in 2018-2020, with new Divisions for Wiltshire Council effective from May 2021 for the local elections.


The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) conducts reviews for two reasons:


1.    At the request of the local authority; or

2.    If the local authority meets the Commission’s intervention criteria:

a.    If one ward had an electorate of +/-30% from the average electorate for the authority.

b.    If 30% of all wards had an electorate of +/-10% from the average electorate for the authority.


It was noted that there were currently 20 divisions which had a variant greater than 10%, of those, there were three divisions with a variance greater than 30% two of which were linked to known large scale planned development, not coming forward as planned.


One division of particular note was Purton, which was at 28% over the average, and if it reached 30% this could trigger a review. The LGBCE had confirmed there was no intention to carry out a review before 2025, however one could take place between 2025-29 if the variances remained at such a level.


It was then,




To note the update on Electoral Division variance and to receive a report annually on the variance.



Forthcoming Community Governance Review 2023/24

To consider a report from the Director, Legal and Governance.

Supporting documents:


The Committee received a report detailing the remaining CGR requests received by the Council since 2019, as summarised in appendix A with further anomalous boundary situations presented at the meeting.


Parish councils which had submitted requests had been contacted to confirm their proposals remained active, with the view of including them for consideration as part of the 2023/24 CGR. Once confirmation had been received, a final list would be included within the Terms of Reference.


A statement was received from Cllr Roger Evans, Chairman of North Bradley Parish Council in relation to its request for a boundary change to partially revert back to its previous position, prior to the Electoral Review carried out in 2020/21 by the LGBCE and the subsequent Community Governance Review.


It was advised that the Electoral Review process had been instigated by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE), and a Community Governance Review had been undertaken by Wiltshire Council following this, which had been impacted by the outcomes of the Electoral Review.  It was clarified that consent of the LGBCE was still currently required to make any further changes to the North Bradley or Trowbridge areas, and that as the areas requested had too few electors to form a viable parish ward for May 2025, it was unlikely consent would be granted on that basis. Instead, a change could occur if the LGBCE consented to change the unitary Divisions boundaries at the same time. However, this would leave a Trowbridge Division permanently undersized, which might therefore be unlikely to be consented.


The Committee considered whether a full review of the areas could result in recommendations which could not therefore be likely enacted, due to the consents required. It noted it had agreed in the 2019/20 review to look at the precise boundary between the two parishes, to address some noted anomalies, and that a limited scope review was permissible. It agreed in the circumstances that such a limited review was appropriate, but would seek clarity from the LGBCE around their potential response to a wider review.

It was then,




That the Committee agreed to:


1)    Include areas as set out in Appendix A and the additional list of anomalies circulated at the meeting, would be include for review for 2023/24 within the terms of reference, subject to confirmation by the requesting parties.


2)    Delegate to the Director Legal and Governance, finalisation and approval of the Terms of Reference for a Community Governance Review 2023/24 after consultation with the Chairman of the Committee. The Director, after consultation with the Chairman, will have the authority to amend the terms of reference at any time if appropriate.


Cllr Wheeler left the meeting prior to the vote.





Urgent Items

Any other items of business which the Chairman agrees to consider as a matter of urgency.


There were no urgent items.