Alternative to boundary changes wins support

A COUNTY councillor has been overwhelmed with responses on plans to move his constituency into a ward which includes parts of Gateshead.

As part of a project to reduce the number of MPs across the country, the Boundary Commission announced that it wanted to move the Rothbury and Coquetdale ward, which is currently in the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency, into the Hexham constituency.

It would mean the Hexham MP would cover an area from Glanton in the north to Rowlands Gill in the south, making it the biggest in the country.

Since the announcement was made, Rothbury and Coquetdale county councillor Steven Bridgett has contacted as many of his residents and parish councils as possible to detail the plans and his own proposal, which would see Rothbury staying put.

He said he has had a brilliant response.

“This issue is extremely important to all residents throughout the Coquet and Rede Valleys and the Vale of Whittingham,” he said.

“If these proposals go ahead, we would end up being put into a constituency that we have very little affiliation with and has the potential to affect our services for many years to come.

“The response I have received so far from the public and parish councils has been overwhelming but we still need as many residents as possible to register their views with the Boundary Commission.

“To put it simply, if the commission just left the Rothbury division in with the Berwick- upon-Tweed constituency and left the Ponteland East division (with the rest of Ponteland) in the Hexham constituency, based on the numbers game which the commission base most of their decision on, it would be more or less the same. Maintaining the status- quo would mean there would be no change for the Rothbury division or Ponteland East.”

He urged residents to have their say on the proposals.

He added: “What we have found in the past is that the Boundary Commission does listen to the views of local residents, more so than they listen to the views of local councils or councillors, as they see our views as potentially being politically motivated, and are very keen to hear concerns.”

Glanton Parish Council has supported his view.

In a statement published on the village’s website, council chairman Coun Jon Radgick said that it will make a representation and urged other residents to do so as well.

Coun Bridgett has also registered his interest to speak at when the Boundary Commission holds a public hearing in Newcastle on November 14.

To register an interest visit

consultation.boundarycommissionforengland.independent.gov.uk/have-your-say/register-interest To have a say on the proposals go to consultation.boundarycommissionforengland.independent.gov.uk/have-your-say/step-1/