Today, the villages of Bagshot, Lightwater and Windlesham are represented by a single 'Windlesham Parish Council', with a group of 18 councillors representing a Parish of over 17,000 people. To put this in context, 80% of parishes in England have populations of less that 2,500 and the average number of councillors is between 5 and 7.
Only 3 of the current 18 Parish Councillors live in Windlesham - the other 15 all live in Bagshot, Lightwater, or further afield. More than 1,000 Windlesham residents (who live in "North Windlesham") are not represented by Windlesham councillors at all - they are considered to be part of Bagshot!
The current arrangement is even an anomaly within Surrey Heath - the neighbouring Parish Councils of Bisley, Chobham and West End are all 'village-specific' and have much smaller groups of local councillors (see image to the left).
Over 700 Windlesham residents signed a petition in early 2019 requesting a review of these arrangements. They indicated that they want a smaller, more local group of Parish Councillors representing all of the village of Windlesham.
The situation now is that 'North Windlesham' will no longer be considered a suburb of Bagshot from May 2023. A new electoral ward means that Windlesham voters will be electing Windlesham councillors. We also managed to achieve a more autonomous operating model, with each of the three villages now being largely responsible for its own budget, decision-making and funding of projects. Through these changes, we believe there will be three big improvements:
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