FIVE borough council seats are set to be axed as final recommendations to reshaped the Test Valley are published.

In the biggest shake up of the area for more than two decades, the independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England has confirmed the number of elected representatives should be slashed from 48 to 43.

The recommendations also propose that those councillors should represent eight three-councillor wards, seven two-councillor wards and five one-councillor wards across the borough.

Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Cllr Phil North, who is one of the councillor set to loose his seat of Alamein, said: “I’m delighted that the boundary commission’s final recommendations agreed with our submission to reduce the number of Test Valley councillors to 43 at the next election. "

As reported back in January, any changes to boundaries will then come into effect during the 2019 borough council elections.

The proposed boundary changes, which are the first since 2000, are being driven by the need to “reduce costs” and make the authority “more efficient”.

The council say the proposals were greeted with cross-party support when presented to full council last year.

And in response to local feedback during consultation, the commission has made changes to some of the draft proposals it published in June.

The commission has said it listened to local evidence and redrawn its proposed wards to reflect community ties. This includes proposals that the Broadlands and Mainstone areas will be part of Romsey Abbey ward rather than North Baddesley as previously proposed. The Halterworth and Highwood areas will be part of Romsey Tadburn.

Cllr North added: "We had asked for changes to some local wards in the south of the borough and am pleased that, together with feedback from the community, those local ties have been more appropriately reflected, and specifically, that Broadlands remains within a Romsey Town Ward.”

And Romsey councillor Mark Cooper has also welcomed the final recommendations.

"I've always advocated reducing TVBC to 24 Councillors; this is enough to do the job but saving £158,000 a year which could be spent on services to the public," he said.

"(I am also happy) because the commission has accepted the recommendations from Test Valley's councillors that Broadlands House should be in Romsey's Abbey Ward and Whitenap and Halterworth will be in Romsey's Tadburn Ward; it is also good to see that Abbotswood is integrated into Romsey's Cupernham Ward.

"It's a shame we're going to lose Romsey Extra Ward as an entity, but in truth residents don't need to worry too much about which ward they are in so long as their council and councillors are doing a good job."

Cllr Cooper added: "However, there will be real confusion for some people because the new Test Valley ward boundaries are not coterminous with parish council boundaries, nor with Hampshire County Council divisions. For example, Romsey Extra Parish Council, which continues, is split between parts of four borough council wards.

"That's regrettable but it's what happens when the boundary commission insists on numerical parity for each borough ward."

The proposed new arrangements must now be implemented by Parliament. A draft Order – the legal document which brings into force the recommendations – will be laid in the coming months.

Valley Park Cllr Alan Dowden, said: ""We had to reduce our numbers (of councillors) and this was the best way to do it.

"I would liked to have left it as it was and I am sure residents in Valley Park would agree."

Professor Colin Mellors, chair of the commission, added: “We are extremely grateful to people across Test Valley who took part in the review. The Commission has looked at all the evidence that was put forward during the consultation.

“We believe these recommendations deliver electoral fairness for voters as well as reflecting community ties throughout Test Valley.”