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Royal Borough members debate reduction in number of councillors

Democracy could ‘diminish’ if the council reduces its size too much, an Independent representative warned on Tuesday.

Wisdom Da Costa (Ind, Clewer North) gave his warning as councillors debated a report which detailed a cross-party working group’s recommendation the councillors be reduced from 57 to 43.

The review also suggests councillors have the option to adjust that figure by plus or minus one, to allow flexibility.

It was carried out after the council voted for it in September, when leader Simon Dudley said it could save ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’.

Cllr Da Costa said: “Our workload is going to increase and possibly become untenable, especially for us minority councillors.”

He continued: “Reducing the number of councillors by 20 per cent will possibly diminish democracy, rather than improve it.”

Cllr Edward Wilson (Con, Clewer South) said: “We are going to work a little bit harder, just like everybody else in society.”

Councillors voted to send the report to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, though a further review will take place and no changes are expected until 2019.

The working group was composed of Conservative Cllrs Ross McWilliams, Natasha Airey, Stuart Carroll, Lilly Evans, Mohammed Ilyas, and Ed Wilson, with Independent Cllr Lynne Jones.

Cllr Jones has since told the Advertiser she thought 43 was ‘too low’, and cited ‘challenges to communities geographically’.

Royal Borough members debate reduction of councillors

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