Agenda item

Community Governance Review 2023/24

To receive a report from the Director, Legal and Governance, in respect of recommendations from the Electoral Review Committee.


The Chairman invited Cllr Ashley O’Neill, Chairman of the Electoral Review Committee, to introduce the report on the Final Recommendations for the Community Governance Review. Cllr O’Neill proposed the Final Recommendations, seconded by Cllr Gavin Grant.


Cllr O’Neill noted that the proposals were mostly less significant than during previous reviews and had involved seeking to resolve various electoral boundary anomalies which had been brought to the attention of the Committee. Details were provided on the scope of the review, the consultation which had taken place, available options, and the statutory criteria on which any decision would need to be based.


The Final Recommendations were explained in detail, including more substantial proposals around Mere, Zeals, Trowbridge, and North Bradley, as well as the more minor alterations in other areas of the county.


Group Leaders were then given the opportunity to comment on the proposals.


Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of the Council, supported the proposals as making sense and supported by clear reasoning and evidence. Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, supported the proposals and endorsed the Committee’s highly detailed assessments and cross-party coordination. Cllr Ricky Rogers, Leader of the Labour Group, welcomed the thoroughness of the review and supported the proposals.


The item was then opened up to general debate. A comment was received on the lack of attendance from any parties involved in the Mere/Zeals proposal. Another comment was made regarding the cost and time spent on boundary change work. In response other comments highlighted the work was in response to requests received and undertaken thoroughly in an appropriate way.


At the conclusion of debate Cllr O’Neill stated that it was appropriate to review parishes as areas developed and that any cost of time was not significant, and that reviewing boundaries was a part of the democratic system. He also emphasised that parties had been advised as part of engagement with the Committee of the stages of the process including the role of Full Council.


It was therefore,




That Council:


1)    Approve the changes to community governance arrangements as set out below as recommended and detailed by the Electoral Review Committee in the Final Recommendations:

Recommendation 1 – Mere/Zeals
Recommendation 2 – North Bradley/Trowbridge
Recommendation 3 – Salisbury (St Francis & Stratford/Milford Divisions)
Recommendation 4 – Royal Wootton Bassett/Brinkworth
Recommendation 5 – Chippenham (Pewsham/Hardens & Central Divisions)
Recommendation 6 – Trowbridge (Grove/Lambrok Divisions)
Recommendation 7 – Calne/Calne Without
Recommendation 8 – Bradford-on-Avon
Recommendation 9 – Melksham (Forest and South Divisions)
Recommendation 10 – Westbury/Dilton Marsh
Recommendation 11 – Southwick/North Bradley


2)    To authorise the Solicitor of the Council to take all necessary measures to make and approve the Community Governance Order(s) to bring into effect for 1 April 2025 all of the changes detailed under resolution 1, subject to any required consents by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England;


3)    To authorise the Electoral Registration Officer to make any necessary changes to polling districts to bring them into line with the agreed governance changes at the appropriate time, to be reported to the Electoral Review Committee.


In accordance with the constitution there was a recorded vote.


Votes for the motion (81)

Votes against the motion (0)

Votes in abstention (1)


Details of the recorded vote are attached to these minutes.


Supporting documents: