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The borough of Wellingborough: united against changes to constituency boundaries

Published Thursday, 24 November 2016

At a meeting on 22 November 2016 the Borough Council was unanimous in rejecting proposals published by the Boundary Commission for England which will divide the borough.

The Commission is consulting on new constituency boundaries across the country to accommodate the government’s plans to reduce the number of MPs. At present the Wellingborough constituency covers the borough of Wellingborough (excluding Earls Barton, Sywell, Mears Ashby and Ecton – who are in the Daventry constituency) and Rushden, Higham Ferrers, Chelveston and Newton Bromswold.

Of all the areas in Northamptonshire, Wellingborough is the hardest hit. The Commission has determined that each constituency should have roughly equal numbers of electors; interestingly, the current Wellingborough constituency meets the “average electorate” requirements published by the Commission, but most of the others in Northamptonshire do not. To put their plans for equality in place the Commission have therefore suggested boundary changes for the other constituencies to bring them into line numerically which sees the borough of Wellingborough carved up four ways and served by four different MPs.

The Leader of the Council, Cllr Martin Griffiths said “it is not every day that the whole council is united against something, but this is one of those occasions. It makes no sense to divide one relatively small borough into four different constituencies. We have a strong sense of community here and that is more important than numbers, especially as the Wellingborough constituency meets all the Boundary Commission’s requirements already!  Local people will be completely confused about who they need to speak to if they have concerns. If these changes are agreed, local democracy will suffer. The Boundary Commission needs to listen to the people of the borough and drop these completely unworkable proposals”.

The changes will mean that Finedon will be moved to Kettering constituency - meaning that the Stanton Cross development to the east of the town will be split into two different constituencies. The same will happen to the north of the town if the Harrowden and Sywell ward is moved the Daventry and Lutterworth constituency.

This will result in the villages to the north of Wellingborough, plus Earls Barton, being linked to Lutterworth, which is in Leicestershire. And in the south of the county the villages in the Wollaston and Bozeat wards will be linked to Northampton South.

Councillors debated their concerns at length and have asked the Chief Executive of the council to send a strongly worded letter to the Boundary Commission for England which expresses their dismay. They also urge local residents to read the Commission’s proposals and register their views by the closing date for consultation – 5 December.