THE new ward boundaries have been described as a ‘total dog's breakfast’ by the chairman of Shalfleet Parish Council.

Draft recommendations, released by the commission today, propose 39 councillors for the Island, with changes to all but five wards. This would mean one less councillor than there currently is.

Chairman of Shalfleet Parish Council expressed concerns at the plans which would see the parish split, with part in Freshwater North and part in Brighstone.

Cllr Steve Cowley said: “There has been no geographic, or historical or community plan in the way it has been done. It’s been done purely on numbers.

“I think a sixth form student with a bit of maths knowledge could have done a better job.”

The ten-week public consultation on the recommendations begins today, and will end on November 12. The consultation is open to anyone who wants to have their say on the new council divisions, division boundaries and division names across the Isle of Wight.

Full details and interactive maps are available on the commission’s website.

A spokesperson for the commission said no one particular ward was being removed but due to a change in almost all of the boundaries, it was necessary to drop the number of councillors. Once the divisions had been drawn around the towns, the commission said there were not enough electors left to warrant 40 councillors.

Chair of the commission, Professor Colin Mellors said: “Our review aims to deliver electoral equality for local voters. This means that each councillor represents a similar number of people, so that everyone’s vote in council elections is worth roughly the same, regardless of where you live.

“We also want to ensure that our proposals reflect the interests and identities of local communities across Isle of Wight and that the pattern of divisions can help the council deliver effective local government for local people.”

The final recommendation from the commission will be published in January before a draft order is considered by the Houses of Parliament. If approved, the divisions would come into effect in May 2021.

An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said “We have received the consultation and will be considering the implications in more detail before making any further comment.”