Review of reduction in councillors set to begin

Doncaster  Mayor Peter Davies.
Doncaster Mayor Peter Davies.

ELECTED mayor Peter Davies has met the Boundary Commission as he presses ahead with plans to slash the number of Doncaster councillors by two-thirds.

Mr Davies told the Free Press that by reducing the number of councillors from 63 to 21 it would “save Doncaster tax payers £1.2 million a year plus the cost of elections” and that the number of members were “superfluous to requirements”.

Following the meeting with the commission, Mr Davies said that the body responsible for electoral wards could make a decision at the end of the current consultation over proposals to scrap the mayoral system in the borough.

Mr Davies, whose manifesto included a mayoral referendum, now opposes the vote because he said residents would prefer having a reduction in the number of councillors.

He said: “I have been holding discussions with the Boundary Commission on the possibility of conducting a review with the intention of achieving significant reductions in the number of councillors.

“The Boundary Commission has now agreed that it will provisionally include a review for Doncaster in its 2013 work programme.

“The commission will make a final decision at either the conclusion of the consultation currently taking place on the proposed mayoral referendum or following the referendum itself, if this takes place.”

Mr Davies said the proposed review would consider electoral arrangements including the size of council wards and the number of councillors needed to represent them.

He told the Free Press that the meeting with the commission was “great news” for the borough and that other councils had successfully achieved the same cuts.

He added: “A number of reviews have already taken place where the number of councillors have been reduced. In Stoke, for example, the number of councillors was 60 to 40 and there has been a reduction in Mansfield.”

The Boundary Commission was unavailable for comment.