Leader “delighted” that commission will look at proposals to axe 12 of the 39 East Cambs councillors

Cllr James Palmer.

Cllr James Palmer. - Credit: Archant

Council leader James Palmer said he was “delighted” with a response from the Boundary Commission that could see 12 colleagues lose their seat by 2019.

“While in financial terms, cutting the number of members is not hugely significant, I believe the message it sends out to our residents is significant,” he said.

The commission has confirmed it will review the number of East Cambridgeshire councillors following a request by the council itself.

Earlier this year, the district council asked the commission to consider proposals to reduce the authority from 39 to 27 members in time for the election in May 2019.

The commission has confirmed it will go ahead with a review of this idea in the next financial year.

A council spokesman said: “The proposals follow governance changes at the authority which has streamlined the number of committees at the council.”

Cllr Palmer said: “When we began our ‘root and branch’ review of the authority, we knew we had to look at all areas of the authority.

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“We decided we could not narrowly focus on team structures, staffing levels or service performance without also looking at the number of councillors we have. It is only right, as an organisation which is looking to have a commercially driven, can do attitude that we investigate whether we have the right amount of members.”

He added: “It is great news then that the Boundary Commission has agreed to review the proposals which we put forward to reduce the number of councillors at the authority from 39 to 27.

“Make no mistake, to represent East Cambridgeshire District Council is a great honour but I believe it is one which should be gained not at the expense of the tax payer but for their benefit.

“Reducing our numbers fits with the tighter, more focused authority I want to lead and I sincerely hope the Boundary Commission will heed our suggestions.”