BARNSLEY Council’s leader says he is ‘concerned’ about proposals to alter ward boundaries in the town - but assured residents in areas in line for changes that their views will be heard.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) reviewed Barnsley’s 21 boundaries having last done so in 2003 - and their final draft report was released to the public earlier this month.

The commission put forward a raft of changes, which they say will even out the number of voters in each area.

It has already ditched previous plans to move Silkstone Common from Penistone East into the Dodworth ward following a public backlash - a decision welcomed by MP Miriam Cates, councillors and parish councillors.

Other proposals include placing Carlton into the Monk Bretton ward, rather than the village currently being split between Monk Bretton and Royston.

Birdwell would be moved to the Worsbrough ward, but Birdwell Common would remain in the Rockingham ward under the plans, which the Electoral Commission say would even out numbers of voters per councillor, providing ‘good electoral equality’.

Sir Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, said that the authority has ‘concerns’ over splitting the Birdwell ward and is ‘looking at alternatives’.

“We’re pleased the Local Government Boundary Commission for England has revised its projections of electors in each ward, which has meant it’s now possible to reunite Silkstone and Silkstone Common,” he added.

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“This was our original intention - it’s also good news that it’s no longer necessary to split Great Houghton.

“We’re concerned about the commission’s proposal to divide Birdwell, and we’re looking at possible alternatives which we will share with the Commission as part of our formal response.

“We want to make sure the proposals are future-proofed for Barnsley in terms of population growth so we don’t have to do another boundary review in the near future.

“I’d encourage anyone with views on these proposals to take part in the consultation, which closes on July 15.”

The current electorate in Barnsley is 184,406 but it’s anticipated this will increase to 193,614 by 2029.

Therefore each of Barnsley’s 63 councillors will have more residents under their wing.

Professor Colin Mellors, chair of the commission, said: “We want people in Barnsley to help us.

“The commission is the independent body that draws these boundaries and it is reviewing Barnsley to make sure councillors represent about the same number of electors, and that ward arrangements help the council work effectively.

“We want our proposals for new electoral arrangements to reflect communities, but we also want them to be easy to understand and convenient for local people.

“Residents and local organisations can help us understand community ties and identities at this early stage of the process.

“Just tell us what you think and give us some details why you think that - it’s really simple, so do get involved.”

* Visit to see the detail of the proposals.