Proposals to change election ward boundaries in the town have been slammed as “manipulation for political gain”.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is currently undertaking a review of Reading’s ward boundaries for council elections.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) was asked to submit its recommendations by Monday (November 4).

The latest proposals include a new ward called “The Heights” to replace Mapledurham and the redrawing of boundary lines in the borough.

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Opposition Lib Dem and Tory councillors supported the changes to ward boundaries, with only Green Party members opposing the proposals.

Councillor Rob White, leader of the Green Party group, said he did not support some of the recommendations and his main concerns related to the Park and Redlands wards.

He said: “It seems to us as though some of the ward boundaries are being manipulated for political gain by the Labour group.

“The first person I discussed this with used the term ‘gerrymandering’.”

Labour councillor Richard Davies called Rob White’s comments “disgraceful”.

Gerrymandering is a practice intended to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating electoral boundaries.

The Green Party has four councillors in Reading, three of which are in Park ward with the other in Redlands.

Redlands currently has the smallest electorate but will have the third highest under the new proposal.

The changes seek to ensure that wards have as equal populations as possible, with some wards having grown too large and others having dwindled below the average.

Councillor Tony Page, deputy leader of RBC, said Green councillors’ views have been fully incorporated into the response to the LGBCE.

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The LGBCE have already approved adding an extra two councillors, which will take the total number of elected members to 48 from 2022 onwards.

The council has now sent its proposal to change ward boundaries for local elections to the Local Government Boundary Commission despite the Green Party’s opposition.

Councillor Jason Brock, leader of the council, concluded: “I think they are sensible proposals and I hope the commission takes the same view.”