TWELVE district council seats have been recommended for the axe as the redrawing of the New Forest’s political map enters its final stages.
The proposal to cut New Forest District Council to 48 members across 26 wards is part of the Local Government Boundary Commission’s final draft on the changes.
It will now go to parliament for a final decision and, if accepted, the changes will come into effect for the next district council elections in 2023.
Prof. Colin Mellors, commission chair, said: “We believe the new arrangements will guarantee electoral fairness while maintaining local ties.”
The commission said the final draft largely comprises what it proposed in a previous draft apart from changes proposed by district councillors on the Waterside.
Covering Hythe, there will now be three two-councillor wards: Dibden & Dibden Purlieu, Hythe Central, and Hythe South.
There were also a few changes to ward boundaries and ward names.
The commission said: “Our final recommendations are for six single-councillor wards, 18 two-councillor wards and two three-councillor wards.
“We consider that our final recommendations will provide for good electoral equality while reflecting community identities and interests where we received such evidence during consultation.”
In coming to its final recommendation the commission resisted opposition from some Lymington residents and councillors unhappy with the creation of separate Lymington and Pennington wards each overseen by two councillors, and the eradication of the Buckland ward.
The changes to Lymington are from the creation of a huge Forest & Solent ward, which will comprise Boldre and East Boldre, Portmore and parts of Exbury and Beaulieu.
Pennington district councillor Jack Davies said the changes had “failed” residents in Lymington and Pennington.
“Instead of making things easier, they trample over local people by putting areas of Lymington which are on the Pennington side of Southampton Road into Pennington ward,” he said.
“Not only are they putting areas with little or no connection with Pennington into that ward, they won’t even bother to change the name so you’ve got people in King’s Road, Middle Road, etc, voting for ‘Pennington’ councillors. It’s ridiculous.”
The final draft can be seen online at www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/south-east/hampshire/new-forest