Planned cuts to the number of councillors across Lichfield and Burntwood are “long overdue”, according to a residents’ group.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has recommended reducing the size of Lichfield District Council from 56 to 47 members.
The local authority had tried to argue that the figure should say, but the Beacon Street Area Residents’ Association (BSARA) say the decision to downsize is a good one.
“We welcome the Boundary Commission’s recommendation,” said BSARA chairman Bob Smith. “This cut is long overdue.
“Following the cut, the average District Councillor will represent 1,718 voters, still five per cent below the median for two-tier District Councils in England.”
Councillor Mike Wilcox, leader of Lichfield District Council said they would examine how a reduction would impact on local residents.
“Despite the proposed decrease in the number of councillors, we will work to make sure that local people’s views and issues are still well represented and taken on board, whatever the outcome,” he said.
BSARA cited the recent disqualification of Michael Fryers for non-attendance as an example of why fewer councillors were needed, although it admitted that not all representatives should be tarred with the same brush.
However, the group said that others within the council should have taken responsibility for dealing with the situation.
“We are disappointed that fellow councillors failed to bring this matter to a head by either forcing his resignation or publicly stepping in to take on his responsibilities,” a BSARA statement about Mr Fryers said.
“It is incongruous that the District Council prosecutes housing benefit claimants who fail to “promptly report a change of circumstances”, while continuing to pay allowances when a councillor goes AWOL.
“The council should ensure that money can be clawed back in such circumstances.”