EAST Dorset will lose seven councillors by the next election following a consultation that attracted fewer than 10 replies.

Just seven members of the public had their say on the independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s recommendations for new electoral arrangements in the area.

Additionally, only four individual district councillors commented on the proposals, although Christchurch and East Dorset chief executive David McIntosh wrote on behalf of the council.

Despite the low turnout for the 12-week consultation, the district council’s 36 elected representatives will be reduced to 29 in the future as a result.

The final report also proposes that the remaining councillors should represent seven single-member, five two-member and four three-member wards across the district.

The changes are set to be implemented after councillors decided roles needed to be reduced in the wake of council cuts.

Councillor Ann Warman, who joined a task force to look into the issue, said: “East Dorset is trimming as much as possible to make us more efficient, and we decided that if staff are losing their jobs, we really ought to reduce the number of councillors too.

“We’ve been working with the numbers and realised that 29 councillors would work just as well.”

The changes will also mean representatives’ salaries will go up – without affecting council tax.

Cllr Warman said: “The independent panel actually thought that we are underpaid – I started this four years on £3,500 per annum.

“This will go up to £5,500 after the proposals go through at the next general election.”

Max Caller, chair of the commission, said: “We are extremely grateful to the people of East Dorset who took the time and effort to send us their views. “The Commission considered every piece of evidence it received before finalising these recommendations.”

The proposed new arrangements must now be implemented by Parliament, and the new electoral arrangements will come into force at the council elections in 2015.