Revised boundary changes 'are a step in the right direction'

boundary

Local residents are being urged to have their say on the latest proposals from the Boundary Commission for England (BCE) for new Parliamentary constituency boundaries, to be implemented ahead of the next general election.

Following a decision by Parliament to reduce the number of constituencies in the UK to 600 from 650, and to ensure that the number of electors in each constituency is equal, the BCE has been asked to make independent recommendations about where the boundaries of English constituencies should be.

The initial proposals published by the Boundary Commission for England in September 2016 saw the Tatton constituency abolished and Wilmslow split between two constituencies.

The Macclesfield constituency was to extend to the north‐west to include most of Wilmslow, Alderley Edge and the Chelford ward from the existing Tatton constituency. Whilst Wilmslow Dean Row and Handforth would be included the Bramhall and Poynton constituency and Knutsford, Mobberley and High Legh were in the proposed Altrincham and Tatton Park constituency.

The revised proposals published last week have been described as a "step in the right direction" as Wilmslow is no longer split into two constituencies, however concerns have been raised about having a cross border constituency which includes some areas of Stockport.

The latest proposals would see Wilmslow, Alderley Edge, Handforth and Styal in a new constituency with Bramhall, Woodford and Hazel Grove called Hazel Grove and Wilmslow constituency.

Nether Alderley and Mottram St Andrew would be in the Macclesfield constituency which stretches to Plumley in the west, north to Poynton and Disley and south to Wincle and Eaton.

Whilst Knutsford, Hale Barns, Mobberley, Pickmere, High Legh and Little Bollington would be in the new Altrincham and Knutsford constituency.

Speaking about the revised proposals, Councillor Martin Watkins, Chairman of Wilmslow Town Council, said "My personal view, given there has been no discussion within WTC, is that these revised proposals are a step in the right direction. They preserve Wilmslow as an entity deserving of the fourth largest Town in Cheshire East without unnecessary division. However, it still provides a cross border constituency where our differing needs are not being recognised. I also question the political will to see these proposals through Parliament in the proposed timescale."

Councillor Craig Browne, who represents the Alderley Edge Ward on Cheshire East Council, said "I think the main concern with this is that the proposed new constituency would include areas under the responsibility of two different local authorities (Cheshire East and Stockport). It is not too great a stretch of the imagination to see this leading to our potential transfer to Stockport MBC (part of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities) in the future. Whilst this might carry some benefits, for example our inclusion within the GMPTE travel area and cheaper rail fares, I think it is move which should be resisted."

Cllr Browne added "Whilst I support the principle of making changes to ensure that each Member of Parliament is elected by and represents the same number of constituents, I am not convinced that reducing the number of MPs from 650 to 600 is necessarily in the best interests of improving democracy. The latter seems to me to be an expensive exercise that will result in (at best) a minor reduction in the costs of running Westminster. The question "what price democracy?" comes to mind."

Esther McVey, MP for Tatton said "It is important that local communities feel an affinity to the constituency they are a part of. So I would encourage any local resident with strong opinions in favour of, or opposed to the current proposals to make their representations to the Boundary commission before the deadline of the 11/12/17. One positive observation is that the Boundary commission listened to constituents' previous representations to keep Wilmslow together, along with Alderley Edge and Handforth."

People can go to the BCE's website to view the new plans. All the public comments received during the first two consultations will also published on the website. You have until 11th December to have your say.

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Boundary Commission
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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Jackie Pass
Friday 27th October 2017 at 12:08 pm
Perhaps someone can help with this. Do the proposals include all the new houses to built in Bramhall, Hazel Grove, Handforth and Wilmslow? If not then I can see this proposed new constituency - redrawn on the basis of population - being out of date before it is even brought in.
Jonathan Follows
Friday 27th October 2017 at 12:16 pm
Jackie, the legislation requires that each constituency contain between 71,031 and 78,507 electors as published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 24 February 2016. These figures are effectively a "snapshot" of the position in December 2015. Labour already complained that these figures were outdated, by the way.
Jackie Pass
Friday 27th October 2017 at 12:25 pm
Thank - you Jonathan. Doesn't seem worthwhile then changing the constituencies at this point in time to merely have 50 fewer MP's.
Jonathan Follows
Friday 27th October 2017 at 12:43 pm
Craig Browne is wrong in one respect, by the way, because he refers to "the same number of constituents". This isn't the case, it's "electors", IE people registered to vote. The number of constituents is totally different. And the ratio between "electors" and "constituents" isn't the same everywhere - Kensington and Chelsea has significantly greater numbers of non-voting constituents than most, for example.

However I agree with Councillor Browne that this change was unwarranted from the start, unnecessary and problematic, and solving nothing other than a political perception of over-representation.
Martin Duguid
Wednesday 1st November 2017 at 7:53 pm
I don't like the 'boundary creep'. Wilmslow is in CHESHIRE, let's keep it that way!
John Featherstone
Thursday 2nd November 2017 at 6:09 pm
I agree with martin WILMSLOW IS IN CHESHIRE and should stay that way
Jon Kelly
Friday 3rd November 2017 at 4:53 pm
The cross boundary area is not ideal at all as we are certainly not part of the Hazel Grove community but it might be the best we can get in order to keep Wilmslow in one constituency. People might recall we were once in Cheadle Constituency but we did have a really excellent MP. The current arrangements include the Tatton constituency covering part of Northwich and Knutsford and really make no sense at all for Northwich which is split into three.

These proposals might not get through though as they will involve a loss of DUP seats the party shoring up the Tories. A better system would be for Cheshire to return say seven MP on PR and then perhaps everyone in Wilmslow might feel they are represented in Parliament .

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