Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Boundary reorganisation - a divided Leigh!

So we now have the Boundary Commission's recommendations for the new parliamentary constituencies. Whilst I fully support the drive to reduce the overall number of MPs and to introduce constituencies with similar numbers of residents I am concerned by the effect of the proposals on Leigh. If approved the wards of Leigh and West Leigh will join Castle Point with Milton, Victoria & St Lukes moving from Rochford & Southend East to join with the remainder of Southend West. Rochford & Southend East will then be swelled by Hockley & Hawkwell. For Southend it would mean that as a relatively small unitary we would have representation from 3 MPs of which only 1 was representing Southend alone - the other 2 having the majority of their residents living outside the Borough. Whilst Leigh & West Leigh would share an MP the other "Leigh" wards including Blenheim & Belfairs, as well as Chalkwell would have a different MP meaning no single parliamentary voice for the community of Leigh.Whereas Southend & Leigh form very much one community I am not sure that the same can be said of Leigh & Canvey! With local authority boundaries unchanged it means that West Leigh residents could be voting on the same day for their Southend Councillor & Castle Point MP. It will be interesting to see how residents react to these proposals. It has been suggested to me that perhaps it is also signalling a blurring of the boundaries across south east Essex leading to an increasing demand for a single south east Essex unitary authority - or is that just mischief making!

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