Redbridge wards to be redrawn as electoral register predicted to rise by 35,000 by 2021

Leader of the Tories Cllr Paul Canal, left, and leader of the council Cllr Jas Athwal, right, traded

Leader of the Tories Cllr Paul Canal, left, and leader of the council Cllr Jas Athwal, right, traded blows over the proposals to transfer Redbridge Music Service and Redbridge Drama Centre to Vision. - Credit: Archant

A government organisation has agreed with the council’s estimate that Redbridge’s electorate will increase by 35,781 by 2021 and ward boundaries will have to be altered.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) will begin a public consultation on this on January 26.

Council leader Jas Athwal told the Recorder: “I am delighted that they have seen this is correct and agreed with us.”

In September Redbridge Council calculated that the electoral register of the borough would rise from 190,697 now to 226,478 in 2021, meaning wards would become imbalanced.

In a letter from the LGBCE to the chief executive of the council, seen by the Recorder, the LGBCE’s projected an electorate of 224,000, but agreed with the council figures as “forecasting ... is an inexact science”.

A spokesman for the LGBCE said: “It isn’t unusual for the Commission to have discussions with councils about voter numbers especially at a time when the electoral registration process is changing.”

Cllr Athwal argued that the government’s new voter registration system had “left people out of a vote”.

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He added he would keep trying to get more funds from the secretary of state for local government and communities to cope with the population rise.

“They are going to have to get more inventive in the ways the are refusing us because they can’t keep telling seven or eight councils they are wrong over and over again.”

The Labour leader revealed he had already met with the cabinet minister three times asking for more money due to Redbridge’s fast growing population.

Leader of the opposition Cllr Paul Canal disagreed with council’s electorate figures.

He said: “The arbitrary and partisan way which the administration managed the first part of the process gives me grave concern about how they will manage the next stage.

“The boundary review should not be decided by one person’s ambition, it should be the opportunity to shape Redbridge for the benefit of its residents.”

The Tory leader added he hoped it would “build wards around natural communities” and “improve civic society” within the borough.

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