The Local Government Boundary Commission wants to hear what residents and local organisations think about the proposals. A ten-week consultation on the proposals will run from today (2 February) until 12 April 2021.
The Commission is the independent body that draws these boundaries. It is reviewing St Helens Borough Council to make sure councillors will represent about the same number of electors, and that ward arrangements will help the council work effectively.
After a ten-week period of public consultation on warding patterns held from 25 August to 2 November 2020, the Commission has published proposals for changes to St Helens Borough Council. It is proposing that there should be 18 wards and one to three councillors per ward, in place of the current 16 three-councillor wards. All wards will change, except Billinge & Seneley Green.
Draft recommendations are for 13 three-councillor wards, 4 two-councillor wards and 1 one-councillor ward. Proposed changes include:
In the northern area of the borough:
- To expand Windle ward to include the extended rural as well as urban areas of Windle parish. To improve the electoral equality of Rainford ward and Windle Ward, the latter would expand further to the north, to take in the ribbon of housing to the west of the A570 Rainford by-pass.
- Uniting the City Road estate within Windle ward, currently under Moss Bank ward.
In western St Helens Borough:
- The Commission has largely adopted submitted proposals in the Rainhill and Eccleston areaa, but modified the proposals to include the streets within the contiguous built-up area of Rainhill within Rainhill ward, despite these streets being in either Eccleston parish or the unparished area
- Thatto Heath ward to extend to include Thatto Heath Park, which currently sits under West Park ward.
In southern St Helens Borough:
- Bold ward to be extended to include Lea Green and housing around this site, including the Waterside Village housing, which currently falls under Thatto Heath. The ward would be renamed Bold and Lea Green ward.
- Sutton ward would be split into Sutton North and Sutton South and the boundaries changed to better reflect those communities with two ward councillors each.
In central St Helens Borough:
- A new Peasley Cross & Fingerpost ward, comprising the eastern section of the existing Town Centre ward.
In eastern St Helens Borough:
- Naming new wards covering the current Earlestown and Newton wards ‘Newton-le-Willows West’ and ‘Newton-le-Willows East’ to more clearly reflect their local identity.
- Tweaks to Haydock and Blackbrook boundaries to better reflect community identities in some areas.
The Commission has a dedicated section on its website where people can see the detail of the proposals and comment on the names of wards, their boundaries and the number of councillors per ward: https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk/node/22471.
Council leader David Baines says: “I’m pleased that the draft boundary commission recommendations take account of the importance of community identity in the borough. The new wards would definitely be an improvement on the current map, and I encourage all residents to now have their say on the suggestions so that we get the best and most informed outcome for residents and St Helens.”
Launching the consultation Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said:
“We want people in St Helens Borough to help us.
“We have drawn up proposals for new wards in St Helens Borough Council. We want to make sure these new electoral arrangements reflect communities. We also want them to be easy to understand and convenient for local people.
“Residents and local organisations can help us do that. We would like them to let us know whether they agree with our proposals before we take final decisions.
“It’s easy to get involved. Go to our website. Or you can e-mail or write to us.
“Just tell us what you think and give us some details why you think that. It’s really simple, so do get involved.”
People can also give their views by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and by post to:
Review Officer (St Helens), LGBCE, PO Box 133, Blyth, NE24 9FE