BRACKNELL Forest is one step closer to a makeover after councillors said yes to a new-look borough map.

Earlier this month the News revealed the council’s recommendation for how Bracknell Forest should be shaped in the future.

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This came after the Local Government Boundary Commission opened up a review of the boundaries within the borough because some councillors were representing hundreds more residents than other councillors.

The main changes resulting from the review will mean residents are more equally represented by their ward member. 

Boundary alterations include:

  • Reducing the number of councillors from 42 to 40
  • Reducing the number of wards (constituencies) from 18 to 16
  • Splitting up Binfield and Warfield into two separate wards
  • Creating new wards called Whitegrove and Savernake
  • Combining wards in the south, east and centre of the borough map to create new joined-up areas.

Local Berkshire: How Bracknell Forest could be shaped in the futureHow Bracknell Forest could be shaped in the future

The full list of changes can be found here.

Bracknell Forest Council’s elected members met last week to give the new map their blessing before the Commission publishes its own draft recommendations in June 2020.

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Conservative councillor Dale Birch, who spearheaded the council’s boundary review working group, told the News this proposal “is a whole council recommendation.”

He added: “We went through a very rigorous process to ensure the new wards created provided for as close as possible to 2,537 electors [per councillor] as possible.

“We came up with a plan that allowed us to provide forty seats and allowed us to remodel some of the current boundaries

“The most important thing about it was that the submissions were all-party submissions.

Local Berkshire: How the map is currently laid outHow the map is currently laid out

“It included submissions from Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors and the final agreed submissions were unanimous.

“The immediate benefit to residents will be that there will be an equality of representation.

“When I put my hand up I’m going to do it with confidence my ward is properly served.

“It is a process to make sure there is a democratic legitimacy everything the council does and nothing is compromised.”

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Bracknell Forest Council will be able to make responses to the Commission’s June recommendations until 10 August 2020.

Labour councillor Mary Temperton was involved in coming up with the new map.

She represents Great Hollands North, a ward which has around 30 per cent more electors than the recommended level.

Local Berkshire: The number of electors per ward in Bracknell ForestThe number of electors per ward in Bracknell Forest

Speaking to the News, she said: "It [the new map] will make it easier because I try to get to everybody and it has been quite hard to do that.

"I think most of the communities are well answered for with the new map.

"It can not be kept as it is because it is so unfair at the moment in some areas compared to others.

"It had to change.

"It is a fair compromise on what is now."

Final recommendations will be published in November 2020 and the new arrangements will take effect from the May 2023 Borough elections.