The Local Government Boundary Commission for England released its recommendations on Mole Valley Ward Boundaries on 6 September 2022
These recommendations will now go to Parliament for approval but can be considered as being final, coming into effect for the May 2023 local elections. For years, we have had elections in three years out of four but the Independents argued in favour of having one election every four years, and having one Councillor for each ward. This would be less confusing for the electorate and they would get to know their own Councillor more easily.
The Liberal Democrat Administration at Mole Valley District Council refused repeated requests by the Ashtead Independents (supported by the Conservatives) to change the system as outlined above so we will continue to have elections three years out of four. This is supposed to allow all electors to have a chance to vote every year there is an election; but this has been a source of confusion for many voters where some wards had an election and others not.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England decided to ‘tidy up’ the ward system to try to apportion electors to Councillors more fairly. To achieve this, they were obliged to follow the Liberal Democrat Administration’s decision to reduce the Mole Valley Councillors from 41 to 39 to get to a number that is divisible by three. They also reduced the number of wards from 21 to 13, each expected to have roughly the same number of electors (1,942) by 2027.
In the case of Ashtead, the electorate forcasts did not justify more than two wards, and the M25 was retained as the firm boundary between Ashtead and Leatherhead. They accepted the Ashtead Independents proposal that the ward names ‘Ashtead Lanes and Common’ and ‘Ashtead Park’ replace ‘Ashtead North’ and ‘Ashtead South’ used by the Commission in their draft proposal. To keep in line with the Commission’s proposals, Ashtead now loses a Councillor so that there will now be six rather than seven.
The boundaries between the two new Wards retain some of the existing long-standing ones such as Ottways Lane, but with a new line down Woodfield Avenue and around Cray Avenue to the long-standing Craddocks Way divide. Following a suggestion from the Ashtead Independents, all Cray Avenue electors are placed in Park Ward.
We are saddened to see the loss of a Council seat in Ashtead, which would have been avoided if the Council had adopted the alternative single-Councillor Ward model we favoured.
As the Wards are new, all 39 seats will be contested in May 2023, and we are planning on having three Ashtead Independents standing in each of the new Wards. The persons elected will then serve for four, three, or two years according to the numbers of votes cast for each to get back to an election cycle of three in four years.
See the Commission’s website for a large-scale map and full details of how their recommendations were reached, including submissions made by us and other bodies.
Note that this Boundary Review is separate from the on-going one with respect to the Parliamentary Constituency. It is anticipated that Leatherhead will become part of the Epsom & Ewell Parliamentary Constituency, to which Ashtead is already assigned.