AN 'ADMINISTRATIVE error' have significantly changed how residents in Basingstoke and Deane will go to the polls in the next two years.

Major changes to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, scheduled for next year, are being delayed after an administrative error by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) during the consultation on new wards.

The number of councillors was set to reduce from 60 to 54 after redrawing the ward boundaries which would have meant 'all-out' elections - i.e. all councillors up for re-election - in May 2019.

However, the commission has now announced that an error has meant the process has been delayed and the new wards cannot come into effect in time for May 2019.

This means the all-out election will take place in May 2020 under the new boundaries with the poll held next year only to re-elect 20 of the current 60 councillors.

The commission's final recommendations for Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council will not be published until March 5 next year.

In a statement, the LGBCE said: “Shortly before the scheduled publication of its final recommendations, the commission became aware that, due an administrative error, two submissions made during public consultation had not been made available to it during its consideration of final proposals.

“Given the importance of considering every local voice fairly and equally, the commission has decided to take a fresh look at every submission made during public consultation on the review. After taking into account all the submissions, the commission will decide the final recommendations.”

Returning officer at the borough council Mel Barrett said: “We prepared for new wards to come into effect in 2019. However, we have also been planning in parallel in case it was not possible for the Parliamentary order to be made in time to hold the all-out elections, so we are fully prepared for next May.”

This means that voters will be going to the polls in May next year only for the wards that would have been up for election under the current ‘thirds’ cycle, where 20 councillors are elected a year over three years. These wards are: Basing; Baughurst and Tadley North; Bramley and Sherfield; Brighton Hill North; Burghclere, Highclere and St Mary Bourne; Chineham; Eastrop; Grove; Hatch Warren and Beggarwood; Kempshott; Kingsclere; Norden; Oakley and North Waltham; Overton, Laverstoke and Steventon; Pamber and Silchester; South Ham; Tadley Central; Tadley South; Upton Grey and The Candovers and Winklebury.

The aim of the electoral review is to recommend ward boundaries that mean each councillor represents approximately the same number of voters.

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