24th Sep, 2017

Deadline looming to have your say on political boundary changes

Sarah Mason 18th Mar, 2017

SILHILLIANS are being called upon to have their say over controversial plans to change political boundaries.

Under the plans first published in the autumn by the Boundary Commission, communities including Knowle and Dorridge would be split down the middle as three new constituencies would be created from the existing Meriden constituency.

Meanwhile the Solihull constituency would be severed in two, with the north of the constituency joining Birmingham.

The plans have sparked controversy with the number of MPs set to be reduced from 650 to 600 across England, Scotland, Wales and North Ireland in a move to help save the public purse – including Conservative stalwart – Meriden MP Dame Caroline Spelman.

In total, 167 responses, including a local resident’s petition of over 500 signatories from the Meriden constituency was submitted to the boundary commission from the across the borough.

Dame Spelman said she is grateful to those who voiced their opinions in phase one of the consultation and urged everyone to have their say in the second phase which will ultimately pave the way for the drawing up of the final map.

She added: “I am very concerned that the Solihull and Meriden Parliamentary constituencies would be split over four local authorities and this goes against the boundary commission’s aim to respect existing local government boundaries.

“Further, that because communities such as Knowle and Meriden receive very few, if any, public services from Coventry these communities risk being a smaller voice in the context of the needs of a larger city.

“Under these plans, I am also much of the work done to unite the Borough could be undone by the political separation of Meriden constituencies in these otherwise close communities.

“It’s a shame that after striving so hard to avoid using the terms north and south Solihull, the constituency of North Solihull and Chelmsley Wood, by its own configuration, deals a blow to this.

“I want residents to be clear that if the integrity of our Borough is not respected by the Boundary Commission, there is a real risk that the needs of local people could become lost in the wake of the surrounding conurbation.”

Local residents have until March 27 to have their say.

To comment on the proposals write to the Boundary Commission: Boundary Commission for England, 35 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BQ; or go online at www.bce2018.org.uk

Similarly, a petition being sponsored by Caroline Spelman to Oppose the breakup of Meriden constituency can be found on her website www.carolinespelman.com or on social media.

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