COUNCILLORS have backed changes to local government elections over the coming years.

Councillors in Winchester recommended changing the electoral cycle to all-out city elections every four years, rather than the current system of having elections three out of four years.

They also supported proposals to reduce the number of councillors from 57 to around 40. It comes as the Boundary Commission is considering reducing numbers by 2016.

An independent scrutiny group (ISG) chaired by Cllr Robert Sanders suggested the plans at a scrutiny meeting which could save the council £328,000 per year.

He said: “A peer review shows that Winchester has one of the lowest residents per councillor ratios, with each having around 1,600 electorate. “On the Isle of Wight it’s 2,000 per councillor and in Portsmouth it’s 3,500.

“There are grounds for increasing the number of electorate per councillor and we are not alone in considering this.”

Councillors were broadly supportive of the proposals, but scrutiny committee chairman Cllr Chris Pines warned the process would not be simple and that workloads varied across the district.

The recommendations will go to Cabinet for approval.