New map of Chorley will be decided by councillors
Chorley Council will vote next month on how the electoral map in the borough should be redrawn.
Councillors will be presented with a proposal which has now been approved by a cross-party committee set up to examine the issue - although an independent commission will have the final say.
The authority’s own boundary review committee supported a revised plan drawn up by council officers, after one of its members branded elements of the first draft “bonkers”.
Committee member Alan Whittaker - who had blasted an original suggestion that Heskin be bound together with Ulnes Walton - said he was pleased that the village’s “historical connection” to Eccleston had been recognised.
Phil Davies, Chorley Council's Head of Electoral Services, had produced the original version based on a requirement roughly to equalise the number of voters in each ward.
After appealing for help from councillors to ensure the map made geographical - as well numerical - sense, the final version won broad support.
“I don’t envy the job Phil and his team have had,” Cllr Whittaker added.
The new map still meets the criteria laid down by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) that the voting population in each ward should be no more than +/-10 percent of the average across the borough. Currently, some areas vary by over a third.
But Adrian Lowe told fellow committee members that it was equally important to be able to justify the reasoning for the proposals to the LGBCE.
“The latest version irons out some of the anomalies, but not all,” Cllr Lowe said.
“We’ve got to put the best case we can - that’s why the narrative is going to be so important. Whichever way you cut the cake up, it’s not going to be ideal,” he added.
And another member suggested further tweaks may still be necessary, after it emerged that some roads on the Euxton Hall estate had ended up in different wards.
“If you’ve got an estate, you can’t have one little bit of it [in one area] and the rest in another,” Cllr Danny Gee said.
Acting chair of the committee, Peter Wilson, admitted that the process was not a perfect science.
“When you go down Dawbers Lane, at what point to do you feel like you’re in Euxton and at what point Eccleston?” he asked.
The committee voted by a majority to approve the new map, which will go before a meeting of the full council next month. If it is accepted, the proposal will be submitted to the LGBCE for consideration.