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This is a response on behalf of the South West Green Party. We support some of the proposed constituencies within the region, but there are some we believe need alterations to reflect local community ties, and some that need significant changes.
We note that in a number of places, it has been hard to respect local ties and remain within the specified electorate range. In some cases this can be solved by splitting a ward to enable local ties to be respected and seats to fall within the correct range. It is our preference that local ties should take precedence over not splitting wards. Due to local boundary changes, the last general election was fought with many wards split between constituencies, and this was managed perfectly adequately.
West of England
The proposals in the Bristol area are appropriate given the scope of the review. In particular, Lawrence Hill and Easton wards belong far more in an East Bristol constituency than they ever did in Bristol West. The electorate range requires Bristol to share a constituency with another local authority, and South Gloucestershire is the local authority that makes most sense, due to it containing much of Bristol’s urban sprawl, in contrast to other neighbouring local authorities. The proposed Bristol North East seems a fair way of dealing with this situation. Changes to Filton & Bradley Stoke are also appropriate.
Keynsham & North East Somerset does not reflect local ties , due to the way rural communities in North East Somerset are split by the boundary, and the inclusion of urban parts of South Gloucestershire within a rural Somerset constituency. This could limit the ability of an MP to adequately represent the many different areas and needs of the constituency, and lead to parts of the constituency feeling unrepresented. We ask this be reviewed, and in particular that splitting the ward of Bathavon South be considered as a better way of reflecting the local situation.
The proposed changes to Stroud separate many areas with strong local ties and should therefore be reviewed. There is a strong local identity tied to the five valleys (Chalford, Nailsworth, Painswick, Ruscombe and Slad). As well as forming a strong identity, these areas are also linked by the use of local facilities. In order to reflect this, the wards of Bisley, Chalford, Harwicke, Minchinhampton and Painswick & Upton should be included within the Stroud constituency. This can be balanced by removing areas to the south west of the proposed constituency, such as Cam and Dursley, as these areas have a much more separate local identity and are tied more strongly to other areas such as South Gloucestershire.
It is appropriate to leave Forest of Dean effectively unchanged.
The ward of Pinhoe should be moved from Exeter to Exmouth, and this move should be balanced by moving Priory ward from Exmouth into Exeter. Pinhoe has more in common with communities in the Exmouth constituency than Priory does, as well as having a strong sense of local identity independent from the rest of the city of Exeter. Priory is part of the inner city and its inclusion within a rural constituency does not make sense. Because these two wards are exactly the same size, this change makes no difference to the constituency sizes, but reflects local ties far better and allows for easier administration.
Because Poltimore also has very strong community ties with Pinhoe and Broadclyst, it should be moved into the Exmouth constituency. This requires splitting it from the rest of the Exe Valley ward, but we feel this is justified in keeping local ties together, as this allows Poltimore to remain with the areas it has a shared identity with, rather than become part of a large constituency mostly containing communities far away from Poltimore with which it shares no ties. This would also retain the existing constituency boundary in this area.
The new Honiton constituency is appropriate, as is leaving North Devon unchanged.
Tower ward should be moved into Frome constituency to better reflect its strong local ties to the area. This can be balanced by removing part of the north of the constituency. As stated above, splitting Bathavon South ward would allow a better reflection of community ties in the area.
Tiverton and Minehead groups together two areas with very few local ties or shared facilities. It covers many communities with very different local context and needs, and would be hard to represent. These areas are also not well connected by transport links, which would make campaigning in the constituency difficult.
This is also the case for Devon Central. This constituency is spread over a very large geographic area and contains many communities that are very far from each other and have very little in common. There is no sense of shared local identity covering this area. Whilst this proposal has relatively little change from the current constituency, Central Devon is already a seat very difficult to campaign effectively, due to the difficulties in travelling between communities that are not connected, and the challenges of representing so many different areas with different needs and issues.
The proposed boundaries in Cornwall are generally good but could be improved to better reflect the communities in the area.
Threemilestone & Chasewater should be moved to Truro & Falmouth, and St Newlyn East, Cubert & Goonhavern to Cambourn & Redruth. This leaves both constituencies with acceptable electorates, and reflects Threemilestone’s strong community links to Truro. It also means there is one constituency representing the north cost, and one representing the south, which is a more appropriate way of reflecting different local ties and needs.
Roche & Bungle should move from South East Cornwall to St Austell & Newquay, and St Columb Major, St Mawgan & St Wenn should move to North Cornwall. This leaves all three constituencies within the correct range, but better reflects local ties. Roche & Bugle has stronger ties to St Austell & Newquay (and was previously in that constituency). This largely preserves South East Cornwall from previous boundaries. St Columb Major has previously been in the North Cornwall constituency (prior to 2010) and returning it to that constituency is more appropriate.
Tisbury, Nadder Valley, Mere and Fovant & Chalke Valley have stronger ties with Salisbury than South West Wiltshire, so these wards should be included in Salisbury constituency. These communities also share strong local ties together, so we would not want to see Nadder Valley and Mere split from Tisbury and Fovant & Chalke Valley (as currently proposed). This can be balanced by removing wards in the north east of the constituency that don’t have as strong ties to Salisbury.
We suggest changing the following proposed names:
Trowbridge & Warminster to ‘South West Wiltshire’ so it continues to reflect the rural nature of this area and many settlements included.
Exmouth to ‘Exmouth and East Exeter’ to better reflect the constituency boundaries, given it contains a significant part of Exeter city.
Type of respondent
Official response from the Green party