Wealden District Council
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Community Governance Review: Parish Boundaries and Electoral Arrangements

Under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, Wealden District Council has been requested to review the boundaries and electoral arrangements for the following parishes within its area. 

This is known as a Community Governance Review (CGR). The following parish councils have requested a Community Governance Review:

  • (parts of) Willingdon & Jevington Parish
  • Framfield Parish
  • Ninfield Parish

A valid petition has also been received seeking a Community Governance Review for:

  • Westham Parish

Furthermore, Wealden has received similar requests from Ninfield Parish Council and Willingdon and Jevington Parish Council to support a request to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England for a Principal Area Boundary Review of the boundaries between Wealden and Rother and Wealden and Eastbourne respectively

Further details about the CGR proposals and process are listed below.

Wealden District Council Community Governance Review 2022/23 Terms of Reference

A review of parishes and related matters under the Local Government and Public Involvement Act 2007

Introduction

Wealden District Council has resolved to undertake a Community Governance Review of Westham Parish, Framfield Parish, and parts of Willingdon and Jevington Parish, in accordance with the relevant legislation and associated statutory guidance.

What is a Community Governance Review (CGR)?

A CGR is a review of the whole or part of the District to consider one or more of the following:

  • creating, merging, altering or abolishing parishes;
  • the naming of parishes and the style of new parishes;
  • the electoral arrangements for parishes (the ordinary year of election; council size; the number of councillors to be elected to the council, and parish warding); and
  • grouping parishes under a common parish council or de-grouping parishes.

A CGR must consider:

  • The impact of community governance arrangements on community cohesion; and
  • The size, population and boundaries of a local community or parish.

Why is the Council undertaking the review?

  • The Council has received a valid petition from 483 electors in respect of the Stone Cross, Dittons and Westham electoral wards of Westham parish.
  • The Council has received a valid request from Willingdon and Jevington Parish Council that a Review be carried out to reduce the number of parish councillors from 19 to 15 and in respect of specific internal ward boundary matters.
  • The Council has received a valid request from Framfield Parish Council that a Review be carried out to reduce the number of parish councillors from 11 to 9.

The Council has a statutory duty to carry out a Review and is required to ensure that it is:

  • reflective of the identities and interests of the community in that area; and
  • effective and convenient.

The Council understands that parish councils play an important role in local decision-making and service delivery and as such there must be clarity and transparency to the areas that parish councils represent. It also recognises that effective community representation is best served by ensuring warding arrangements and the allocation of councillors are appropriate, equitable and readily understood by the electorate.

Aims of the review

The review will be to consider the following specific issues raised by or in respect of the affected parishes and make appropriate recommendations:

Westham – Comprising Dittons (BPWB), Stone Cross (BPSC and BPSD) and Westham (BPSF) polling districts

  • To establish a separate parish council for the villages of Stone Cross and Hankham with effect from May 2023.

Willingdon and Jevington – Comprising Upper Willingdon (EWSM), Lower Willingdon (EWSJ), Watermill (EPWF) polling districts

  • To reduce the size of the Parish Council from 19 to 15 councillors with effect from May 2023, by reducing both Lower Willingdon and Upper Willingdon wards by 2 councillors
  • To review minor anomalies and internal ward boundaries and consider the name of Watermill ward
  • To reinstate the former Jevington ward or change the name of Lower Willingdon ward to that of Lower Willingdon and Jevington
  • To review the boundary with Polegate (east of A2270)

Framfield – Comprising Blackboys (WUSB) and Framfield (WUSC) polling districts

  • To reduce the size of the Parish Council from 11 to 9 councillors with effect from May 2023

In undertaking the Review, the Council will be guided by Part 4 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, the relevant parts of the Local Government Act 1972, Guidance on Community Governance Reviews issued in accordance with section 100(4) of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 by the Department of Communities and Local Government and The Electoral Commission in March 2010, and the following regulations which guide, in particular, consequential matters arising from the Review: Local Government (Parishes and Parish Councils) (England) Regulations 2008 (SI2008/625); Local Government Finance (New Parishes) Regulations 2008 (SI2008/626).

Scope of the review

The CGR will cover the following existing parishes and wards:
ParishParish Wards (if any)Number of Councillors
Westham
  • Westham
  • Stone Cross
  • Dittons
  • 5
  • 6
  • 2
Willingdon
& Jevington
  • Lower Willingdon
  • Upper Willingdon
  • Watermill
  • 8
  • 9
  • 2
Polegate
  • Polegate South
  • 5
Framfield
  • N/A
  • 11

Who will conduct the review?

As the Principal Authority, Wealden District Council is responsible for undertaking any CGR within its electoral area. The Council has delegated responsibility for overseeing the Review to the Audit, Finance and Governance Committee.

Management responsibility for the organisation and management of the review:

  • Electoral Services Manager
  • CGR Project Manager.

For any further information or questions regarding the review please email CGR@wealden.gov.uk

Publication of  Terms of Reference

These Terms of Reference will be published on the Council’s website and will be effective from 27th July 2022.

A CGR must be completed within 12 months from the publication of its Terms of Reference, which is the effective start date for the Review. The CGR ends with the publication of final recommendations.

The CGR timetable is as follows:
What happens?When?Further infomation
Electorate Forecasts and Demographic Data publishedBy mid July 2022Supporting evidence and information for five-year electorate forecasts published on the Council’s website.
Terms of Reference (TOR) agreed27 July 2022By the Audit, Finance and Governance Committee (AF&G) meeting
Terms of Reference publishedEarly August 2022Publication on the Council’s website; associated publicity and stakeholder notification
Stage 1 Consultation startsEarly August 20226 week period of consultation on CGR proposals begin
Stage 1 Consideration of Submissions21 September 2022By the Audit, Finance and Governance Committee (AF&G) meeting to consider initial submissions and draft recommendations
Submission to Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) (if appropriate)By 1 October 2022
at the latest
For any proposed ward/division changes
(see Consequential Matters below)
Stage 2 Consultation startsEarly October 20226-week period of consultation on CGR draft recommendations begins
Stage 2 Consideration of Submissions12 December 2022By the Audit, Finance and Governance Committee (AF&G) meeting to consider representations on draft recommendations
Final proposals agreed12 December 2022By the Audit, Finance and Governance Committee (AF&G) meeting
Final proposals published and Stage 3 consultation startsMid December 20222-week period for submissions on final proposals
Final Recommendations agreed and published18 January 2023By the Audit, Finance and Governance Committee (AF&G) meeting to consider representations and agree Final Recommendations
Reorganisation Order made and publishedFebruary 2023Publication on the Council’s website; associated publicity and stakeholder notification
Reorganisation Order takes effect1 March 2023Transitional arrangements and support provided ahead of the May 2023 local elections

Before making and recommendations or publishing final proposals, the Council must take full account of the views of local people. It has a duty to:

  • consult the electors within the areas under Review;
  • consult any other person or body (including a local authority) which appears to have an interest in the Review;
  • notify and consult the County Council;
  • take into account any representations received in connection with the Review and judge them against the criteria set out in the 2007 Act (namely that governance arrangements within the area reflect the identities and interests of the community in that area and that they are effective and convenient).

A specific consultation strategy for the CGR is set out below:

CGRs should be conducted transparently so that local people and other stakeholders are made aware of the proposals, recommendations and decisions taken, as well as the outcome. The Council will ensure that all information relevant to the CGR is accessible, clear and published in a timely manner. In considering the most appropriate forms of consultation, it will be important to evaluate the scope and impact of changes and ensure the widest opportunity is given to make representations

Westham

  • Subject to the Stage 1 consultation, a consultative ballot may be considered appropriate. Other methods include public notices, local newsletters, public meetings (if deemed necessary) and via the Councils’ websites

Willingdon and Jevington

  • The specific boundary changes and governance issues raised by Willingdon and Jevington Parish Council can best be addressed by direct consultation with the electorate and interested parties directly affected by the proposals. This will include Polegate Town Council (Polegate South ward) and relevant electors and interested parties in that area. In addition, consultation with Eastbourne Borough Council will be necessary to determine whether it would support proposed boundary changes at this time. Agreement from Wealden Council is also required. If approval is given by both Principal Councils, the matter will be referred to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England

Framfield

  • The specific request from Framfield Parish Council can be addressed through local publicity including public notices, local parish newsletters, public meetings (if deemed necessary) and via the Councils’ websites

Ninfield

  • The specific request from Ninfield will require agreement from both Wealden and Rother Principal Councils before it can proceed. If approval is given the matter will be referred to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England

If the outcome of the CGR affects District Ward and County Division boundaries, the District Council will consider and consult upon the consequential boundary changes and make recommendations to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) to make alterations to those boundaries to reflect any changes made at parish level.

The electoral arrangements affecting Wealden parish boundaries were amended by The Wealden (Electoral Changes) Order 2016 (dated 15 December 2016), and as a full five years has passed since that Order was made, the consent of the Local Government Boundary Commission for England will not be required before any local Community Governance Reorganisation Order can be made.

In considering the electoral arrangements of the parishes stated within these Terms of Reference the District Council is required to consider any change in the number or distribution of the electors which is likely to occur in the period of five years beginning with the day when the CGR starts.

The Council has used the Register of Electors as at May 2022 to provide existing local government electorate figures. Electorate forecasts have been prepared using extant planning permissions, housing allocation figures from the draft Wealden Local Plan/Local Development Framework and housing numbers from East Sussex County Council’s data portal (East Sussex in Figures). Details are in Annex 1. (page 21 of report)

Stage 1 consultations included online surveys. These have now closed. The results of these are published on our Consultation Diary web page.

Stage 2 consultation is currently being undertaken via our online Consultation Diary and posted ballot papers.

If you need any further information about the Review, please contact The CGR Project Manager on 01892 602423.

Write to: CGR Project Manager, Wealden District Council, Vicarage Lane, Hailsham, BN27 2AX

Email: CGR@wealden.gov.uk (Please state CGR in the subject heading)

Information in Alternative Formats and Languages

If you require any information associated with the CGR to be made available in large print, Braille or in another language, please fill in our contact us form  selecting Elections from the dropdown list.

The following parish councils have requested a Review

To consider proposals put forward by Willingdon and Jevington Parish Council dated 28 February 2022.

Stage 1 Consultation

The initial online consultation survey has now closed. The results from this are published on our Consultation Diary web page. 

Stage 2 Consultation.
Closing date: 30/11/22

In taking account of the Stage 1 consultation responses, the Council now puts forward the following draft Recommendations for a further period of consultation:

Community Governance Review stage 2 – Willingdon & Jevington – Wealden District Council – Wealden District Council

CGR ProposalCGR Draft RecommendationEvidence
To reduce the size of Willingdon and Jevington Parish Council from 19 to 15 Councillors with effect from the next election in May 2023. To achieve this by reducing both Lower Willingdon and Upper Willingdon wards by 2 councillors.The recommendation Be Supported
  • Parish Council’s internal audit report (2020) and subsequent formal Council ratification (February 2022)
  • Community consultation exercise (August 2022) demonstrates community support
  • Meets statutory criteria under Section 98 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007
  • No adverse impact on community cohesion
  • No adverse impact on the size, population and boundaries of a local community or parish
To make alterations to address minor anomalies in internal ward boundaries including changing the name of Watermill ward to Willingdon and Watermill ward.The recommendation Be SupportedAs stated above
To reinstate the former Jevington wardThe recommendation Be SupportedAs stated above
To alter the external boundary between Willingdon and Jevington parish and Polegate parish (east of the A2270)The recommendation Be Not Supported
  • Community consultation exercise (August 2022) does not demonstrate community support
  • Objections raised by Polegate Town Council have been considered
  • Potential adverse impact on community cohesion at the present time
  • Difficult to assess impact on size, population and boundaries at the present time (given uncertainty associated with current development proposals)
Principal Boundary Matter  – Willingdon and Jevington Parish Council requested a Principal Area Boundary Review (PABR) in respect of specific locations along the boundary between Wealden District and Eastbourne Borough Councils. Such a Review would be conducted by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) and be subject to the agreement and support of all Principal Councils affected.The recommendation Be Not Supported
  • Eastbourne Borough Council has raised objections. This would not be in the best interest of the local communities affected, would cause significant complications for both the administration and smooth running of Parliamentary elections and would lead to voter confusion. Eastbourne councillors have never received and suggestions or comments from residents wishing to be part of [Wealden] Willingdon and Jevington.
  • No response from ESCC
  • Potential adverse impact on community cohesion at the present time
  • Community consultation exercise (August 2022) does not demonstrate community support
  • Does not meet LGBCE technical guidance for a PABR

To consider proposals put forward by Framfield Parish Council received on 9 June 2022.

Stage 1 Consultation

The initial online consultation survey has now closed. The results from this are published on our Consultation Diary web page. 

Stage 2 Consultation.
Closing date: 30/11/22

In taking account of the Stage 1 consultation responses, the Council now puts forward the following draft Recommendations for a further period of consultation:

Community Governance Review stage 2 – Framfield Parish – Wealden District Council – Wealden District Council

CGR ProposalCGR Draft RecommendationEvidence
To reduce the size of Framfield Parish Council from 11 to 9 Councillors with effect from the next election in May 2023The recommendation Be Supported
  • Parish Council’s formal Council decision (May 2022).
  • Community consultation exercise (August 2022) demonstrates community support
  • Meets statutory criteria under Section 98 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007
  • No adverse impact on community cohesion
  • No adverse impact on the size, population and boundaries of a local community or parish

To consider a request received from Ninfield Parish Council, supported by a number of local residents.

Principal Area Boundary Review Matter – Community Consultation.

An opportunity has been taken to conduct community consultation, including an online consultation survey. The initial online consultation survey has now closed. The results from this are published on our Consultation Diary web page. 

Principal Area Boundary Review Matter – Community Consultation
Principal Boundary MatterDecisionEvidence
Ninfield Parish Council requested a Principal Area Boundary Review (PABR) in respect of its boundary between Wealden District and Rother District. Such a Review would be conducted by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) and be subject to the agreement and support of all Principal Councils affected.The request Be Not Supported
  • Rother District Council has not expressly supported the request.
  • No response from ESCC
  • Community consultation exercise (August 2022) demonstrates some support and raises a number of issues and concerns.
  • Does not meet LGBCE technical guidance for a PABR

Stage 1 Consultation

The initial online consultation survey has now closed. The results from this are published on our Consultation Diary web page.

Stage 2 – consultative ballot

The CGR comes after the Council received a valid petition signed by 483 electors seeking to separate the local government functions of the three villages of Westham, Stone Cross and Hankham as two entities, by the establishment of a separate parish council for the villages of Stone Cross and Hankham, to be known as Stone Cross and Hankham Parish Council.

Thousands of residents would be affected by the petition proposal and, following an initial community consultation exercise in the summer, Wealden council has agreed it would be appropriate to conduct a consultative ballot within Westham parish prior to making a formal decision on the matter.

The ballot is running from 1st November until 5pm on Wednesday 30 November. All those on the electoral register as at 1 October 2022, will be receiving a consultative ballot paper pack in the post. Electors will be able to respond by post or online. Instructions and further information is included in the pack.

You can view the statements for and against the proposals here:

Statement Against

Statement For

In addition to the local electorate, the Council is keen to hear from other interested parties regarding the above proposals.

If you have any further comments or questions, please email them to:

The CGR Project Manager, Wealden District Council – CGR@wealden.gov.uk

Or write to us at: CGR, Wealden District Council, Vicarage Lane, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 2AX.