Bid to change some Havering electoral wards scrapped after complaints

Havering Boundaries Montage

The Local Government Boundaries Commission has altered its plans in Havering and announced a new consultation, after receiving hundreds of complaints. - Credit: Archant / Havering Council

Officials have dropped some planned changes to Havering’s electoral boundaries after hundreds of residents complained.  

The Local Government Boundaries Commission (LGBCE) said it was no longer going ahead with some of its redrawing of the local electoral map which some residents alleged were politically motivated.

The LGBCE has ditched a planned border through Corbets Tey village, which would have assigned voters to Rainham.

Hundreds complained, some alleging the plan would aid the ruling Conservatives, as the village typically voted for resident associations. 

LGBCE Map Corbets Tey

Plans published last year included a new border through Corbets Tey, meaning hundreds of villagers would become part of Rainham & Wennington ward, instead of Upminster. The plan has now been scrapped. - Credit: LGBCE

The LGBCE has also scrapped plans to get rid of Squirrel's Heath ward and remove a council seat in Elms Park.  

It has kept plans to remove a seat in Hacton, which has three resident association councillors.

It has also amended plans to split Romford Town ward, which currently has three Conservative councillors, in two. The two new wards would have five combined seats. The ward will still be split but their names will be changed and boundaries slightly altered.

LGBCE Map Romford Town

The new plan, subject to another public consultation, suggests splitting what is currently Romford Town ward into two new wards - St Edwards and St Albans. - Credit: LGBCE

More than 100 residents complained about an alleged “gerrymandering” attempt after council leader Damian White was recorded claiming he had “influenced” the council’s LGBCE submission so it was “really politically advantageous”.  

Damian White

Havering Council leader Damian White was recorded claiming he had been allowed to "influence" a submission to the LGBCE so it was "really politically advantageous" - but two of his Tory colleagues blocked an investigation, claiming a complaint wasn't filed quickly enough. - Credit: Havering Council

The LGBCE said it could not consider “motives” behind submissions. 

Two Tory councillors blocked an investigation into the recording on a technicality.  

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That sparked a complaint, as both men had participated in the secretly recorded meeting, yet did not declare it before deliberating over a complaint about it.  

The council refused to accept the complaint, claiming the opposition was simply “dissatisfied with a decision of the council”. 

A new consultation will run until March 8. Visit:

The LGBCE published the new plans days after Havering Council was ordered to comply with Freedom of Information rules, after refusing to release emails from around the time of the alleged “gerrymandering”.  

The opposition requested the emails in summer but was told they were “personal”.  

A requested review should have been completed within 20 working days but has now taken more than three months.  

The Information Commissioner’s Office last week ordered the council to comply within 10 days.