Councillors could be culled in Calderdale boundary review

Calderdale Council Budget Meeting at Halifax Town Hall'Pictured are Geraldine Carter, John Hardy, Ann McAllister and Stephen Baines
Calderdale Council Budget Meeting at Halifax Town Hall'Pictured are Geraldine Carter, John Hardy, Ann McAllister and Stephen Baines
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COUNCILLORS will be asked to vote next week on whether they want a boundary review, possibly leading to a cull of the 51 members.

Calderdale Conservatives have suggested reducing the number of councillors to 36 possibly saving £160,000 a year.

Former group leader Ann McAllister will seek support at Wednesday’s meeting of Calderdale Council for a review of electoral arrangements by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

“Calderdale has more elected members per head of population than any other West Yorkshire Council,” said Coun McAllister (Con, Rastrick).

“In comparison with other metropolitan borough councils nationally, its councillor coverage per capita is similarly imbalanced.”

When these ideas were raised in February, they were linked with a proposal to merge council services in Calderdale and Kirklees under a single chief executive - the so called “Huddersfax” scheme.

But they were widely criticised on the basis that Calderdale might lose its identity and in any case some services were already being provided jointly.

In response to the latest call for a boundary review, Halifax Labour MP Linda Riordan said: “As with most gimmicks, this one will not get any further than the fag packet it has been drawn up on. People will pass judgement on the quality of the representation they are getting at the ballot box on May 3.

“Then local Tories will probably get their wish and have fewer councillors, as Halifax and Calderdale residents are sick and tired of their Government’s policies and the damage they are doing to local communities across the district.”

Mrs Riordan said Conservative Ministers had already given the idea of a boundary review the thumbs down.

According to the council’s Conservative group leader, Stephen Baines, the number of councillors should be reduced to make electoral wards equal in size to those in Kikrlees.

He believes at least £2.5 million can be saved by combining management structures.