Help shape the future of local government in Cumbria

In the biggest change to Cumbria’s council structures since 1974, two new ‘unitary’ councils are being formed to replace the existing configuration of six district councils and Cumbria County Council.

In the area currently covered by the councils of Barrow Borough, Eden District and South Lakeland District, the new unitary authority will be called Westmorland and Furness Council.

In the area currently covered by the councils of Allerdale Borough, Carlisle City and Copeland Borough, the new unitary authority will be called Cumberland Council.

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Local elections are taking place in Cumbria this week.

The new unitary councils will not start operating services in these areas until April 1, 2023, but on Thursday voters will have the opportunity to elect councilors for the new authorities.

In the Westmorland and Furness Council election, voters will elect 65 councilors to the new unitary council. They will be elected from 33 new wards covering the new council area, with voters in 24 of those wards able to vote for up to two or three candidates to represent them.

The number of “seats” in each ward was determined by calculating the ratio of voters in the ward to the 65 councilors who will make up the new council. This means that wards with more voters will have seats for two or three councilors to represent them.

The new ward arrangements and the number of councilors in each ward have been established in accordance with the guidelines of the Local Government Boundaries Commission and have been approved by the government.

Ballots contain instructions indicating the number of candidates people can vote for (for example, stating “Vote for up to 3 candidates” if it is a three-seat ward).

Voters in multi-seat wards do not have to use all the votes to which they are entitled if they do not wish to vote for more than one candidate, and voters in multi-seat wards may choose to use their two or three votes to vote. for candidates from different parties or political groups.

The following is a list of Westmorland and Furness Council’s 33 wards, with the number of seats in each ward in brackets:

Barrow Area Neighborhoods

Dalton North (2)

South Dalton (2)

Hawkcoat and Newbarns (3)

Old Barrow and Hindpool (3)

Ormsgill and Parkside (3)

Risedale and Roosecote (3)

Walney Island (3)

Eden Region Neighborhoods

Alston and Fellside (2)

Appleby and Brough (2)

Eamont and Shap (1)

Eden and Lyvennet Vale (2)

Greystoke and Ullswater (1)

Hesket and Lazonby (2)

Kirkby Stephen and Tebay (2)

North Penrith (2)

South Penrith (2)

South Lakeland Area Neighborhoods

Bowness and Lyth (1)

Burton and Holme (1)

Coniston and Hawkshead (1)

Barn and Cartmel (3)

High Fury (1)

Kendal Castle (2)

Kendal Highgate (2)

Kendal’s Void (2)

South Kendal (2)

Kendal Strickland and Fell (2)

Kent Estuary (2)

Levens and Crooklands (1)

Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale (2)

Windermere and Ambleside (3)

Candidates will always be elected by first-past-the-post, meaning that in multi-seat constituencies, the two or three candidates with the most votes will be elected.

Councilors of the new Westmorland and Furness Council will be elected for a five-year term, the first year on a Westmorland and Furness ‘Shadow Authority’ which will oversee the planning and preparation of the new unitary council, followed by four years on Westmorland and Furness Council , which will go live on the day of acquisition on April 1, 2023.

Cumbria County Council, Barrow Borough Council, Eden District Council and South Lakeland District Council will continue to operate and provide all current services until the day of acquisition.

From 1 April 2023 the Shadow Authority and its 65 councilors become the new Westmorland and Furness Council and the existing county, borough and district councils will be dissolved.

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