Redrawing of boundaries proposed for voters in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre
It could be all change for some Fylde coast voters at future General Elections if a shake up of constituency boundaries goes ahead.
All five MPs who currently hold seats covering different areas of Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre are facing alterations to the constituencies they represent.
However some are more dramatic than others – the Preston North and Wyre seat held by Conservative Ben Wallace since 2010 could be abolished altogether, while Blackpool North and Cleveleys could revert to Blackpool North and Fleetwood.
The latter would be a throwback to when Joan Humble won three times for Labour before stepping down in 2010 when the seat was scrapped.
The Boundary Commission has been given the task of revising constituencies throughout the country in order to ensure each MP has roughly the same number of voters – between 69,724 and 77,062 registered voters each.
It means redrawing and renaming some seats, but this initial set of proposals is by no means a done deal.
Written public consultation will now run until August 2, followed by a series of hearings next spring, before a further four-week consultation with final recommendations due by July 2023.
Go to www.bcereviews.org.uk to view maps showing the proposed new boundaries and to provide feedback.
The Boundary Commission is proposing to add some wards to the seat because its electorate of 56,887 “is significantly below the permitted electorate range.”
It is proposed to keep the existing constituency, and extend it north to include Claremont, Layton, Park, and Warbreck wards.
Scott Benton, who won the seat at the 2019 General Election for the Conservatives after defeating longstanding Labour MP Gordon Marsden, said the proposal “makes sense.”
He said: “This is only the start of the Boundary Commission process and it is certainly not a done deal.
“The constituency is one of the smaller ones so we knew some changes would be put forward for Blackpool South. It is proposed to keep it within the local authority boundaries which makes sense.
“The additional wards proposed have a lot of the issues such as transport links, community ties and geography in common with the rest of Blackpool South.
“The key is community ties and local links are maintained.
“Politically the indications suggest we would have maintained a Conservative majority at the 2019 General Election with these additional wards, so adding them to Blackpool South wouldn’t suggest any fear to the Conservative party.”
Blackpool North and Cleveleys
It is being proposed to add Fleetwood back into the constituency but lose areas of Blackpool which would be put into Blackpool South.
The newly renamed Blackpool North and Fleetwood constituency would still include wards in Cleveleys and Thornton.
The Boundary Commission says in its report :”As it is no longer included within a Lancaster based constituency, we propose that the town of Fleetwood be included in our proposed Blackpool North and Fleetwood constituency.
“This would contain the settlements of Fleetwood, Cleveleys and Thornton from the borough of Wyre, and five wards from the Blackpool unitary authority, containing the Bispham and Warbreck areas.”
Paul Maynard, who has held the seat for the Conservatives since 2010, said: “These are preliminary proposals for consultation and whatever the outcome is, I will continue to serve all the people resident in the existing constituency of Blackpool North and Cleveleys.
“The most important thing is that communities feel their ties are reflected appropriately.”
Lancaster and Fleetwood
The Boundary Commission says its proposed new Lancaster constituency would no longer extend across the River Wyre into Fleetwood.
It says: “Although the proposed constituency still extends into the borough of Wyre, no part of the constituency now extends across the River Wyre into Fleetwood.
“The River Wyre in this area forms the new western boundary of the constituency, and the southern boundary now aligns with that of the borough of Wyre. The constituency is wholly contained within these two authorities.”
Labour’s Cat Smith, who has represented Lancaster and Fleetwood since 2015, said it was too early to speculate on changes, particularly as previous Boundary Commission reports had changed considerably following consultation.
But she said: “The most important thing is communities are kept together. If people can identify with their constituency, there is a better chance they will identify with their elected representative and that strengthens democracy.”
The report suggests “relatively minor change to the existing Fylde constituency.”
However in order to bring it into the required size range, it is proposed to include the Wyre wards of Tithebarn, Breck, and Hardhorn with High Cross thus bringing the whole of Poulton into the Fylde constituency.
The report says: “This change has enabled us to propose a Fylde constituency that no longer includes wards from the city of Preston.”
Mark Menzies, who has held the seat since 2010 for the Conservatives, said: “I have always been of the belief that all of Fylde borough should be kept together and I am glad to see the Boundary Commission, in its initial proposals, has kept all of the borough within the constituency – that was the most important consideration I fought for.”
Preston North and Wyre
Proposed changes would see the Preston North and Wyre constituency which has been held by Conservative Ben Wallace since 2010, carved up between the new Lancaster and Preston constituencies.
Mr Wallace, who is the current Defence Secretary, was first elected as an MP in 2005 representing the former Lancaster and Wyre seat.
He said: “I have had the privilege of representing large parts of North Lancashire over the last 16 years.
“I have witnessed many changes. The latest proposals look similar to my old seat of Lancaster and Wyre.
“I will study the proposals and consult with local councillors and residents before making any representations to the Boundary Commission.”
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