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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Council urges commission to rethink new constituencies

Friday, March 30, 2012


Stockton Council has written to the Boundary Commission to seek a number of amendments to its initial proposals to change parliamentary constituencies.

The Council is concerned that proposals to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600, and for each Constituency to have a similar number of voters, will cause significant local problems, creating illogical parliamentary boundaries with constituencies sometimes separated by just the width of a particular street.

Councillors also believe the proposals could have an impact on community boundaries and diminish community identities.

Councillor Bob Cook, Leader of Stockton Council, said:" We should not underestimate the impact of these proposals. The proposal for four MPs for the Stockton Borough area under these proposals will inevitably make things more confusing for electors and their administration will create a costly, logistical minefield.

"At election time, voters will be confused that their neighbours could be voting for different MPs.

"In Billingham, residents and Councillors alike have expressed concerns about plans to split wards and communities. Because of this, we have urged the Commmission not to include the Billingham North Ward in the proposed Hartlepool constituency and instead keep it with other Billingham wards.

"If the Commission does not accept this, we have asked it to rename the constituency Hartlepool and Billingham North.

"Adding to the confusion, the Commission proposes naming another constituency Stockton and Billingham, even though the Billingham North Ward would not be a part of it. Again, if the Commission doesn't change its plans, we have suggested renaming it North Stockton and also including the Parkfield and Oxbridge Ward in it, given this ward's close association with Stockton town centre."

The Council has also suggested renaming the Middlesbrough Constituency to Middlesbrough and Thornaby to better reflect its geographical area.

As the majority of voters in the proposed Sedgefield and Yarm constituency will be Stockton Borough residents, Stockton Council feels it should administer elections in what should be renamed the South West Stockton and Sedgefield constituency.

The Commission will consider all the comments it receives before deciding whether any of its initial proposals should be changed as a result. If the initial proposals are revised, there will then be a final eight-week period for views to be expressed on the revised proposals.

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