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Plans backed to reduce number of councillors from 57 to 43

A councillor says the proposal to separate two villages as part of an electoral review in the Royal Borough could trigger ‘the biggest break-up of a community since the Berlin Wall’.

Last night (Tuesday) councillors voted in favour of a report recommending that the number of elected representatives be reduced from 57 to 43 in time for the 2019 borough elections.

As part of the changes, electoral wards could also be cut from 23 to 19, a move which would see wards like Horton and Wraysbury split up and grouped with other areas.

Cllr Colin Rayner (Con, Horton and Wraysbury) said: “I’ve represented Horton and Wraysbury since 2005, we know the community more than a mathematician sitting in the Boundary Commission.

“This will be the biggest break-up of a community since the Berlin Wall.”

A cross-party working group drew up the new boundaries, which include plans for 14 wards with two elected members and the remaining five with three each.

Changes could see Datchet, Horton, Eton and Eton Wick grouped into a single ward while Wraysbury could be paired with Old Windsor.

Leader of the opposition Cllr Lynne Jones believed the reduction in councillors was too severe and told the full council meeting at Windsor Guildhall: “A reduction to 47 councillors would allow communities to maintain their identities and still achieve the equality.

“I believe it [the reduction to 43] puts an unnecessary impact on communities, localism and democracy.”

Cllr Eileen Quick (Con, Clewer East) said that councillors should not be concerned about keeping their communities apart in the borough.

She said: “Keeping different groups apart and the poorer and wealthier separated into their ghettos is not something we need to be concerned about.

“Our residents, hopefully, will know when they turn to their local councillor that they will be looked after.”

The council’s recommendations will now be submitted to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) with the final ward patterns expected to be finalised in June.

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