'It makes no sense' - MPs react to proposed boundary changes which could see Bassingbourn, Melbourn and The Mordens become part of North East Herts
PUBLISHED: 10:29 27 October 2016 | UPDATED: 10:29 27 October 2016
MPs have reacted to proposals for the South Cambs villages of Bassingbourn, Melbourn, Guilden Morden and Steeple Morden to become part of the North East Herts constituencies - with Heidi Allen telling the Crow it makes 'no sense'.
The proposed reforms have been made by the Boundary Commission for England to ensure that each counstituency represents roughly the same number of voters, between 71,031 to 78,507, in rules set out by Parliament in 2011.
The initial report states that because Cambs’ constituencies have an average electorate size of 79,270, it’s impossible to allocate to the county seven constituencies that fall within the electoral quota. Therefore Cambridgeshire needs to be grouped with a neighbouring county.
But there are concerns over having these villages, which are closely interlinked with others in South Cambs, become part of a different constituency in a different county – with a consultation ongoing for people to submit their views.
South Cambs MP Heidi Allen told the Crow: “I was shocked to see the commission’s proposals.
“Although prepared to lose Queen Edith’s to the city of Cambridge, as this is a natural fit for residents, I did not expect the wards of Melbourn, Bassingbourn and The Mordens to be moved into a Hertfordshire constituency.
“It makes absolutely no sense to me and I will be challenging the commission on these proposals. I would also encourage all residents who feel as I do, to do the same.”
North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald represents the area that would gain the villages.
“The Boundary Commission is independent and has to try to design constituencies of equal size,” he said.
“I would be sad to lose any part of my constituency, but understand that they have a difficult job to do.
“Bassingbourn, Melbourn and The Mordens have a lot in common with Royston and Ashwell including NHS arrangements, jobs, business interests, sport and transport links.
“I know the villages well. I can understand why the Boundary Commission has made this proposal.
“There is a consultation and further ideas may emerge.”
As well as the consultation, there are public hearings where the electorate can give their views directly to an assistant commissioner. For this area, a public hearing is at Guildhall, Cambridge, on Thursday, November 10, from 10am to 8pm and the following day from 9am to 5pm.
To submit your views and for full details of the boundary review visit www.bce2018.org.uk by December 5.