RESIDENTS in the New Forest are being asked for their help in drawing up a new pattern of council wards.

The New Forest District Council will have their wards re-drawn across the district with the help of local people, as part of a consultation by the independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

The Commission has also announced that New Forest should have 48 councillors in future.

This is 12 fewer councillors than the council currently has.

By drawing up the new pattern of council wards, the Commission aims to deliver electoral equality for voters in council elections so that each councillor represents roughly the same number of voters.

The review also aims to ensure that the new council wards reflect the interests and identities of communities across New Forest as widely as possible.

Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said: “We are asking local people and organisations to help us draw up new wards for New Forest. As we develop the recommendations, we will take into account local community identities as well as ensuring electoral equality for voters.

“If you have a view about which communities or neighbourhoods should be part of the same council ward, then we want to hear from you. And if you think a road, river or railway makes for a strong boundary between communities in your part of New Forest, then this consultation is for you.

He added: “If you’re interested in the way the district is run, just log on to our website to explore our interactive maps and have your say.

“Your views will make a difference. We will carefully consider all evidence that is provided during this phase of the review, whoever it is from and whether it applies to the whole of New Forest or just a small part of the district."

Those living in the New Forest have until March 2 2020 to submit their views in this consultation.

Residents will then get another chance to have their say after the council publishes their draft recommendations in June 2020.

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