Last week the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) published its final recommendations for its review of Crawley Borough Council’s wards. Following this, there will be a whole Council election in May 2019, with the Council then reverting back to its usual annual practice of electing a third of the Council from 2020.
The current Council has 37 Councillors but Councils like Crawley that have elections by thirds now have to have a total number of Councillors divisible by three. Labour unsuccessfully argued that the Council should increase to 39 Councillors but the LGBCE supported the Conservative view that Crawley should have 36 Councillors from next year. The difference between the two numbers means that Crawley Conservatives have saved Crawley Council Tax payers £20,000 every year on the costs of Councillors compared to what Crawley Labour argued for.
The new Council will be made up of 13 wards (ten of 3 Councillors and three of 2 Councillors). The LGBCE final recommendations agreed with Crawley Conservatives in that there should be no changes to six existing neighbourhood wards of Pound Hill North & Forge Wood, Pound Hill South & Worth, Maidenbower, Furnace Green, Tilgate, and Southgate.
We’re also delighted with the LGBCE final recommendations for Three Bridges and Ifield. All Labour Councillors voted at the town hall to split both these neighbourhoods, but Conservative Councillors Bob & Brenda Burgess in Three Bridges and Martin Stone in Ifield successfully campaigned for both these wards to be made up of the whole neighbourhood and thankfully the LGBCE agreed with them.
Unfortunately, Labour were successful in splitting Broadfield into three parts but my representations ensured recognition for those residents having to move out of the main Broadfield ward, in the naming of the new wards of Bewbush & North Broadfield and Gossops Green & North-East Broadfield.
Sadly, my view is that Labour’s motivation throughout the entire review was to create Council wards that they felt were the most electorally advantageous to them by splitting Crawley’s neighbourhoods. Thankfully Crawley Conservatives representations put Crawley first by ensuring as many wards as possible matched Crawley’s neighbourhoods.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
10th October 2018