On May 1st, voters in Morpeth North Division will have an opportunity to elect just one councillor to the new unitary authority for Northumberland.
This will be a ‘transitional authority’: it will take on the responsibilities of the County Council straightaway, and over the coming year, it will take on the responsibilities of Castle Morpeth BC and the other District Councils in Northumberland, until on April 1st 2009, the District Councils will be abolished.
So, please think carefully before voting. The councillor elected will be effectively replacing the existing County Councillor and all three Borough Councillors currently representing Morpeth North. And, it looks as though there’ll be no further elections for five years, so you’ll be stuck with whoever is elected though to 2013! [OK - the Electoral Commission is talking about revised boundaries and an election in 2010 - but the Government is resisting this]
The Morpeth North unitary authority councillor will be one of just 67 councillors in the whole county. They will, at the very least, be representing you on an Area Committee, an Area Planning Committee and an Area Licensing Committee. With just three other councillors (representing Morpeth Kirkhill, Morpeth Stobhill and Pegswood), they’ll be the only voice of Morpeth on the new Northumberland Council.
Northumberland County Council has published a ‘blueprint’ of how they see the new council working - download from here.
Morpeth Town Council will not be abolished. In fact, it may well take on additional responsibilities when the Borough Council goes. Your five existing Town Councillors will continue to represent you – in all probability for five more years, through to 2013, as well.