Final proposals for electoral boundary changes revealed

Brought to you by your local newspaper.
Brought to you by your local newspaper.

The final proposals for a redrawn electoral map in Northumberland have been revealed, with a reduction from four constituencies to three.

There is no change from the amended proposals which were consulted on last year and would see the formation of the following constituencies: Berwick and Morpeth; Blyth and Ashington; Hexham and Cramlington.

Every single ward in Northumberland would be included in these three constituencies, unlike the previous proposals.

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

An initial 12-week consultation was held in the autumn of 2016, giving the public the first chance to view and comment on BCE’s plans.

Strong community evidence was received from across the North East, both supporting and countering BCE’s initial proposals.

All of these comments were published as part of the second consultation last spring and more than 25,000 public responses were received across the country during these consultations.

The original proposals were for a Berwick and Ashington constituency; an amended Blyth Valley constituency and a Hexham and Morpeth constituency. Plus, the Ponteland East and Stannington ward was to be included in the proposed constituency of Newcastle upon Tyne North West.

The final scenario instead adds Morpeth, Pegswood, Stakeford and Bellingham to the Berwick constituency, which also retains Rothbury.

This means that Ashington and the surrounding area goes into a new constituency with Blyth, while the expanded Hexham constituency adds Cramlington, not Morpeth as was suggested previously, and retains Ponteland.

The BCE’s report said: ‘In response to the consultation on the revised proposals, we received substantial support for our configuration of the constituencies in Northumberland.

‘In comparison to our initial proposals, respondents believed that our newly configured constituencies in a separate Northumberland sub-region better reflected local community ties.’

The final report will now be presented to Parliament.

This ends the BCE’s involvement in the 2018 Boundary Review and the Government must now make arrangements for the recommendations to be voted on by both Houses of Parliament.