Reading Borough Council (RBC) could be getting an extra two councillors, if its wishes are granted.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) has told the council it will be undertaking an electoral review of the council this year, based on its analysis of the 2017 annual canvass in Reading.

If councillors approve the recommended action at Monday’s policy committee, RBC will write to the LGBCE to say it wants to increase the number of councillors to 48, have three members in each of its 16 wards and continue holding elections by thirds.

The council’s draft submission to the LGBCE states this would enable all wards to have elections by thirds and would allow the current ratio of one councillor per 2,400-2,500 electors to be maintained.

It adds that it would help to create an effective balance between leadership and ward responsibilities

Currently 50 per cent of all councillors are in receipt of Special Responsibility Allowance as lead members, chairs or vice chairs of committees, to recognise the extra work requirement for these roles.

The LGBCE will decide on the total number of councillors at a meeting on August 20, 2019.

RBC currently has 15 three-member wards and one single-member ward (Mapledurham).

The LGBCE’s predecessor the Boundary Committee deliberately made an exception in Mapledurham in 2002, where there is controversy over development at Mapledurham Playing Fields.

The borough’s population has grown from 135,000, in 1981, to 163,000 today (a 21 per cent increase over 38 years), living in 66,000 households.

Reading is eligible for review because the 2017 canvass showed over 30 per cent of its wards had an electorate that was more than 10 per cent different from the authority’s average.

Abbey and Whitley wards have the largest electorate, more than 15 per cent above the average, while Redlands has the lowest, more than 20 per cent smaller than the average.

The review is expected to be finalised next summer but changes will not be implemented until May 2022.

The last review of ward boundaries in Reading was undertaken by the former Boundary Committee between February 2001 and June 2002 and was implemented from June 2004.

RBC currently has 46 Councillors. A third of them are elected at a time, with elections taking place in three out of every four years.

The Council’s political composition in 2019-20 is: Labour 30, Conservative 10, Green 4, Lib Dem 2.