Monday, 15 August 2016

The biggest single-member ward in the borough

This news item reminded me how skewed council representation has become. In 2004, the population of Coedffranc West  was 1,727. In 2012, it had risen to 2,142. I do not have the exact number, but with the surge in house-building after that election the population in 2015 was around 2,600 and it will clearly exceed 3,000 by the time of the electoral register to be used for the 2017 council elections. In all that time, the ward has been represented by a single councillor. Contrast that with Coedffranc Central nextdoor which has had a fairly static population of just under 3,000 and has been represented by two councillors since the inception of Neath Port Talbot county borough. Margam ward has also been growing, though not quite as fast. It, too, has only a single councillor.

There was an opportunity in 2010 to equalise representation and bring it more into line with government recommendations. However, an inexperienced boundary commission (pdf here) produced an impractical and unacceptable solution, much to the relief no doubt of the ruling party which over the years has stood to gain from the unchanged situation.

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