Constituency boundary review - have you had your say?
- Credit: Archant
The consultation into proposed boundary changes for constituencies in England closes soon - but there's still time to have your say.
The 2023 Boundary Commission Review is being conducted under rules laid down by Parliament, which retains the number of constituencies in the UK at 650 and requires the number of electors in each constituency to be brought more in line with each other.
For this review, most constituencies in England must have no fewer than 69,724 and no more than 77,062 electors - and so in the proposals, the number of constituencies increases from 533 to 543.
It was previously proposed that Shingay-cum-Wendy, Tadlow, Whaddon, Meldreth, Shepreth, Melbourn, Flint Cross, Dyer’s Green, Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth, Abington Pigotts, Litlington, the Mordens, North Brook End, Heydon, Great Chishill and Little Chishill would go to to the newly-named constituency of Letchworth and Royston.
Previous MP for South Cambridgeshire, Heidi Allen, slammed the proposals - saying they made "no sense."
And in 2018, North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald said: “I know there are very many friendly links between the villages and the Royston area and, of course, we share the Crow newspaper.
“I think the name of the new constituency does not really reflect its diverse and rural nature or the fact it spans counties.”
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However, in the June 2021 it was revealed that those plans were scrapped and the Herts/Cambs constituency border would remain intact
MPs Sir Oliver Heald and Anthony Browne welcomed the "stability" of this.
Sir Oliver Heald said: "I welcome this stability which helps constituents and those who provide services to know who their MP is and makes access easier.
"North East Hertfordshire covers a big area from Letchworth, Royston, Baldock and Buntingford down the A10 to villages south of Hertford like Bayford.
"Although there are many different issues, I think we have a lot in common and form a community that is understood by residents."
Anthony Browne, South Cambs MP, said: "It is reassuring to see the that villages close to Royston will remain part of this constituency, offering residents some stability and retaining a representational link to their district and county area.
“We are still in the first stage of this process, with further changes sure to follow any consultation, and I am encouraging all residents to closely examine the Boundary Commission's proposal. As ever, theirs is the most important voice and I would urge all affected to have their say on these plans.
“Whatever happens, my focus is on supporting and representing our residents regardless of new lines on a map.”
The Boundary Commission has received over 14,000 representations so far, and encourages members of the public who have not yet done so to send in their feedback before the consultation closes at midnight on August 2.
The Commission will hold its secondary consultation in early Spring 2022, including holding a number of public hearings across the country, and will publish its revised proposals later in 2022.
At the end of the consultation process, the Commission will present its final recommendations to Parliament by July 1 2023.
Tim Bowden, secretary to the Boundary Commission for England, said: “In June, we published our proposals for what the new map of constituencies across England could look like.
"We asked for your feedback, and it’s fantastic that we have had over 14,000 responses so far. However, we want to hear from as many people as possible to help us get the boundaries we have proposed right. Your feedback matters. I encourage all members of the public to visit the website and tell us whether your local area is best represented in the boundary lines and constituency names we have suggested.
"Every response will be taken into account during the development of our revised proposals. During the previous review we changed over half of our initial proposals based on the feedback we received. There is just one week remaining to send us your comments on our initial proposals for new constituencies in England, and it’s quick and easy to do."
An interactive map of the proposed new constituencies across England can be viewed via the consultation portal, bcereviews.org.uk.