A REVIEW could result in New Forest District Council axing one in five of its members.

The Conservative-controlled authority has decided that the number of councillors should be reduced from 60 to 48 before the next local elections in the Forest in 2023.

The move would save almost £80,000 in members’ allowances each year.

But any changes will have to be approved by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE).

The proposed reduction would mean fewer councillors representing bigger wards with a larger number of residents.

It would ensure that each member would serve approximately the same number of voters.

A report to councillors said: “A successful electoral review will bring about more representative democracy in the New Forest, as electoral inequality would have been addressed as far as possible as part of the review.”

The last electoral review was in 1999.

Since then, the report said, the council had altered its structure from committees to a more centralised cabinet-led system which had streamlined decision-making and required fewer councillors.

A previously proposal to reduce the number of councillors to around 46 was rejected by the authority in 2014 but was revived two years later.

The council leader, Cllr Barry Rickman, has given an assurance that town and parish councils will not be affected by the latest proposals.