Review could cut Sheffield councillor numbers

Leader of Sheffield City Council, Julie Dore

Leader of Sheffield City Council, Julie Dore

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Election watchdogs have warned Sheffield Council could be forced to cut numbers and new ward boundaries may be drawn up for the city.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has ordered a review into wards and council size to address ‘significant imbalances’ in representation of the electorate.

John  Mothersole. John  Mothersole Chief Executive Sheffield City Council

John Mothersole. John Mothersole Chief Executive Sheffield City Council

They say movement of people in the past decade means some councillors are now representing fewer people, or in some cases more, in each area.

Three councillors in Central ward currently serve a population of 20,600.

The same number of elected representatives serves Richmond – where the population is 13,400.

In a report prepared ahead of this year’s review, Sheffield Council defended the need for its 84 councillors.

Chief executive John Mothersole said: “We believe that, particularly in the current challenging times, Sheffield Council has a role to ensure that we get the best possible outcomes for the city.”

Mr Mothersole also said the council’s research found many people believe the current number of councillors was ‘about right’.

The report will be submitted to the LGBCE after today’s full council meeting.

Public consultation will begin in March and any changes would be brought into effect after the 2015 General Election.

Marcus Bowell, of the LGCBE, said: “There are three statutory aims – each councillor represents roughly the same number of voters, wards reflect as far as possible the interests and identities of local communities, and the electoral arrangement helps the council deliver effective and convenient local government.”

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