This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 04/07/2017.
Revealed: The new political map of Croydon has been finalised
The new political map of Croydon has been revealed after a year-long process to redraw the boundaries which decide the areas where people vote.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) has revealed its final recommendations for the borough’s local electoral map – which includes the ward boundaries that will be used for the first time in next year’s local elections.
Croydon Council referred itself to the LGBCE in May last year in order to reflect huge changes that are taking place in the borough’s population.
The commission was asked to redraw the boundaries by the council over concerns about the number of voters per councillor due to population changes around the borough.
There were particular concerns over the population explosion in the town centre due to the large number of office to residential conversions of existing buildings and new tower blocks planned.
The commission’s final report – which will now be sent to Parliament where it will likely be voted through as a draft order – shows that Croydon will keep its 70 councillors, with 15 three-councillor wards, 12 two-councillor wards, and a one-councillor Park Hill ward.
You can view a map of the finalised proposals here:
The borough’s Conservatives had a previous bid to cut the number of councillors in the borough rejected by the commission.
Every ward boundary has been redrawn, although some such as those in New Addington are relatively minor – aside from Fieldway being renamed New Addington North.
Among the major changes are the new Fairfield ward, which will no longer include Park Hill, which is to be included in a new Park Hill and Whitgift ward.
The crucial local election swing battleground of Waddon has also seen its boundaries mostly moved north.
The commission also scrapped plans to divide the three current Thornton Heath wards into four.
Norbury will have two wards, split by the Victoria-bound railway line, while South Norwood and Upper Norwood have been reorganised to create a new Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood ward.
Shirley has also been split into north and south wards, with parts of Ashburton making up the former.
In the south, Coulsdon West will be renamed Coulsdon town, and its boundary moved east of the railway line to better reflect the boundary of Coulsdon and Old Coulsdon, which will get its own ward.
Parts of the old Coulsdon West ward have also been allocated to the new Purley ward, and a new Purley Oaks and Riddlesdown ward created. Selsdon and Ballards has also been split into two.
Professor Colin Mellors, chair of the commission, was “extremely grateful” to everyone who took part in the review.
“We believe these recommendations deliver electoral fairness for voters as well as reflecting community ties throughout Croydon,” he said.
On Tuesday (July 4), the commission wrote to the council’s chief executive Jo Negrini to confirm the review was now complete.
In a statement, Ms Negrini said: “The Commission has carried out a very thorough piece of work and has listened carefully to the views of local people in arriving at its conclusions.
“If they are approved the council will make contact with all Croydon residents to ensure they understand what the changes mean for them and where they have to go next time they vote.”
The impact of the map on the political make-up of Croydon will likely be seen in May’s local elections when the wards will be used for the first time.
The Conservatives will be looking to take back control of the council from Labour, who won 40 seats to the Tories’ 30 in 2014.