The Boundary Commission for England has published its initial proposals for new constituency boundaries. If adopted, the changed constituencies would become effective at the 2020 general election. The proposals and maps for the nine English regions have been published on the Commission website, www.bce2018.org.uk. The 12-week public consultation period has commenced and is the opportunity for the public and interested bodies to give the Commission their views on the proposals.
The proposals have a significant impact on the parliamentary representation of the Fylde district. Presently, the whole of the council’s district is within the Fylde parliamentary constituency, which also includes the Lea area of Preston. The Commission (in paragraph 33 on page 14 of the proposals document) proposes the following:
“We propose that the Blackpool South constituency be extended both northwards and southwards, with the inclusion of the St.Leonard’s and Kilnhouse wards around Blackpool Airport. We considered that this allowed the town of Lytham St. Anne’s to remain largely undivided in our reconfigured Fylde constituency, which, in order to increase its electorate to achieve the electoral quota, also includes the town of Poulton‑le‑Fylde.”
On Monday 17th October at a meeting of the full Council, Deputy Leader of Fylde Council Councillor Karen Buckley made alternative proposals that kept the town of St Annes and the borough of Fylde as a whole within the Fylde Parliamentary Constituency, saying:
“The problem with the Boundary Commission’s proposal is that it would mean losing 1/3rd of the town of St Annes on the Sea to Blackpool South. We are not a town of Lytham St Annes, they are separate and distinct communities. St Annes has a Town Council and we believe that the Town Council boundaries should remain within the one constituency.
I represent one of the wards affected, St Leonard’s, and I have not met anyone in my ward who agrees with the current proposal.”
In order to carry weight with the Boundary Commission, Councillor Buckley explained that instead of simply rejecting the proposal an alternative was proposed, this being to retain the wards of St Leonard’s and Kilnhouse within Fylde, and to move two of the Poulton-le-Fylde wards to Blackpool North constituency. The proposal would maintain the integrity of the Fylde constituency whilst ensuring the constituencies achieved the prescribed limits of electorate.
Councillor Shirley Green provided additional information, advising that the Boundary Commission’s proposal would result in a Fylde constituency electorate of 72,103, whereas the proposal before Council would result in an electorate of 72,193.
More information regarding the Boundary review and how you can give your view can be found on the Fylde Council website at http://www.fylde.gov.uk/council/elections-and-electoral-registration/parliamentary-boundary-review-2018/