Council numbers under review

MAJOR decisions on the future composition of Pendle Council were due to be considered at Thursday night’s full council meeting.

In a report from Philip Mousdale, the council’s Executive Director (Citizen and Community Services), members were asked to consider reducing the number of councillors and whether to change the frequency of council elections.

At the moment, there are 49 councillors in 20 wards, some of which have just one councillor (Blacko and Higherford, Foulridge, Old Laund Booth, and Higham and Pendleside), some two (Marsden, Walverden and Whitefield) and some three (all wards in Colne and West Craven, Cloverhill, Bradley and Southfield in Nelson, Barrowford, Brierfield and Reedley).

If members decided to go for a reduction in the number of councillors, an electoral review by the Local Government Boundary Commission would be required, but changes to the frequency of elections - a third of the council is currently elected each year, with members serving a four-year term to allow for county council elections in the fourth year - can be made by the council itself.

Members were asked to consider whether to elect the whole council every four years, or to continue with the present arran gements.

The report from Mr Mousdale says a review of changes in Pendle would be likely to take 12 months and any changes would be unlikely to be implemented before 2014.

A reduction in the number of councillors from 49 to, say, 33 would produce savings of around £50,000, says the report.