PROPOSALS for new ward boundaries across West Berkshire have been put forward.

The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England has published its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements.

The report states West Berkshire should be served by 43 councillors in the future, which would see a reduction of nine representatives on the current set-up.

A breakdown of five three-councillor wards, nine two-councillor wards and ten one-councillor wards has been suggested.

Councillor Graham Jones, leader of West Berkshire Council, said: "Broadly speaking, I believe they have they have accepted around half of our suggestions and improvements on the document they published initially.

"However, it is dissapointing the way they have treated Newbury and Thatcham. We had hoped to create several smaller wards for this important area.

"There is support across the council for smaller representation in wards, rather than three members in each.

"One of the real positives about this exercise is that we will be reducing our numbers from 52 to 43. This will allow the members to be closer to the areas they represent.

"It will also allow us to reduce the cost of running the council at a time when money is short."

The proposed arrangements must now be implemented by Parliament.

The new structure will come into force at the council elections in 2019 if it is approved.

Professor Colin Mellors, chair of the commission, added: “We are extremely grateful to people across West Berkshire who took part in the review.

"The commission has looked at all the evidence that was put forward during the consultation.

“We believe these recommendations deliver electoral fairness for voters as well as reflecting community ties throughout West Berkshire.”

Residents convinced the commission to split Thatcham Central and Crookham into separate wards during a public consultation.

Some of the recommendations were published in August, suggesting Aldermaston and Bucklebury should be divided into smaller wards.

The commission has amended its recommendation so the area will now be covered by an Aldermaston ward, a Bradfield ward and a Bucklebury ward which will each be represented by one councillor.

Elsewhere in West Berkshire, the commission has made minor changes to its recommendations to reflect local evidence as well as adding the prefix Newbury to wards representing the town.

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