The Local Government Boundary Commission is conducting an electoral review of Fylde Council, the aim being to ensure fair representation of electors across the borough and equal access to councillors. The last review of Fylde took place in 2000 and since then some areas of the borough have seen significant housing growth. This leads to a disparity in the number of electors per council representative, for instance in Kilnhouse ward in St Annes there are 1,057 voters per councillor, but in Wesham there are 1,615 voters per councillor. The review will seek to redress this using a 2026 forecast for the number of electors in Fylde overall.
An assessment of the number of councillors required to serve residents in Fylde will be confirmed by the Commission in December after which time a full consultation on where ward boundaries should be drawn will be undertaken. The results of the review will come into force at the next local elections in 2023. The Finance and Democracy Committee, which is chaired by the Leader of the Council, met this week to set up a cross-party working group to produce the first stage report on council size.
At the same meeting a decision was made to begin consultation on establishing one or more parish councils for the unparished areas of Fylde, these being Lytham and Ansdell. All remaining areas of the borough have parish/town councils, the largest being St Annes-on-the-Sea Town Council serving a population of 26,935 and the smallest being Greenhalgh-with-Thistleton parish council with a population of 421.
The Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda for the North may lead to a radical shake up of local government and Lancashire County Council have submitted proposals to abolish the two-tier system of a District and County council model, replacing it with three Unitary councils across Lancashire. These larger authorities are likely to leave a vacuum in community governance in areas without a parish council so it’s timely to consider parish level representation for the residents of Lytham and Ansdell.
Council Leader, Cllr Karen Buckley, commented:
“I have never known a time when reviews at all levels of government have converged like now. We asked the Boundary Commission to reconsider the timing of this work, not only owing to the need to focus on supporting residents/businesses through Covid-19, but also because talks of devolution and local government re-organisation were dominating the political arena here in Lancashire. Determined to plough on, the independent Commission agreed only to extend the deadline for submitting a report on council size and this is now due in December. Should re-organisation of local government gain traction then this work may never see the light of day.
“On a separate note, I welcome the appetite from all sides of the council to look again at the need for a parish council in the areas of Lytham, Ansdell and Fairhaven. Democratic accountability in the heart of the community is available all across Fylde apart from here. It’s time to address the imbalance.”