The Labour leader on Pendle Borough Council has slammed a Boundary Commission decision to reduce the number of councillors in Pendle as a 'cull on democracy'..
Coun. Mohammed Iqbal said that residents in outlying villages of the borough would see their democratic rights suffer as a result of the decision to slash the number of councillors from 49 to 33.
In contrast, the Tory leader of Pendle Council, Coun. Paul White, who invited the Boundary Commission to review the number of councillors, welcomes the news.
The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking local people for their help to draw up a new pattern of council wards for Pendle Council.
The consultation is the first part of an electoral review which will re-draw ward boundaries across the borough.
The Commission has now announced that Pendle should have 33 councillors in future: 16 fewer than the current arrangements.
Coun. Iqbal said: "This proposal by the Conservative party in Pendle is a cull of democracy in Pendle and will undermine the ability of local people to hold their councillors to account.
"It will increase the burden on remaining councillors to serve larger areas at a time when its difficult to attract residents to stand for council in the first place.
"This savage cull will mean that the area committee system where local councillors faced local residents every month will disappear in large areas of Pendle. People living in Brierfield, Reedley Barrowford and surrounding villages and West Craven being under threat.”
There are currently 20 wards in Pendle, of which 13 have three councillors.
The exceptions are Marsden, Walverden and Whitefield (all Nelson) with two as well as Blacko and Higherford, Foulridge, Higham and Pendleside and Old Laund Booth (all rural) with one.
Coun. White said: "I am delighted that the Boundary Commission has agreed with our suggestion to reduce the number of councillors on Pendle Council from 49 to 33 from May 2020."
The Conservatives currently hold power on Pendle Council with 25 seats, Labour 15 and nine Liberal Democrats.