Response to the Parliamentary Boundary Review Consultation – July 2021

1. Overview

1.1 This is a response to the Parliamentary Boundary Review which significantly affects where we live.

The proposals can be found here https://boundarycommissionforengland.independent.gov.uk/2023-review/eastern/

Please feel free to use any or all of this text to make your own views known to the boundary commission.

1.2 It is understand the need for electoral equality and for constituencies to be numerically sound but there is a strong feeling that they must not do so to the detriment of the residents and communities in West Suffolk. The current proposals do not reflect established community needs and interests.

2. Boundary Commission Proposals 

2.1 Significant concerns have been raised regarding the proposed constituency referred to as Haverhill and Halstead.

2.2      The proposed Haverhill and Halstead constituency would sit across two clinical commissioning groups.

2.3       The proposed Haverhill and Halstead constituency would sit across two police constabulary areas.

2.4       The proposed Haverhill and Halstead constituency would sit across two county councils. 

2.5       The proposed Haverhill and Halstead constituency would sit across two district councils.

2.6       West Suffolk Council would be split across 3 constituencies. 

2.7       Much of the county boundary between Suffolk and Essex at this point is defined by the physical barrier of the River Stour. 

2.8       All electors of the current West Suffolk constituency would find themselves in a new constituency. 

2.9       Transport infrastructure between Haverhill and Halstead is poor with road links being small and rural.

2.10     Public transport options are poor, with bus journeys between the two towns taking over 2.5 hours with multiple changes and train journeys being impossible due to the fact that neither Haverhill nor Halstead has a train station. 

3 Proposals

3.1 A constituency is proposed that would be largely based on the current constituency area.

3.2 It is proposed that the constituency retain the name West Suffolk.

3.3       The West Suffolk constituency would take in the district wards of Brandon East, Brandon Central, Brandon West, Lakenheath, The Rows, Mildenhall Queensway, Mildenhall Great Heath, Mildenhall Kingsway and Market, Manor, Iceni, Exning, Newmarket North, Newmarket East, Newmarket West, Kentford and Moulton, Barrow, Chedburgh and Chevington, Whepstead and Wickhambrook, Withersfield, Haverhill North, Haverhill Est, Haverhill South, Haverhill Central, Haverhill East, Haverhill South East and Clare, Hundon and Kedington. 

3.4       West Suffolk Council would be split only across 2 constituencies, of which West Suffolk constituency would be one. 

3.5       The West Suffolk constituency would sit within one County Council area, one CCG area, one District Council area and one Police Constabulary area.

3.6       The West Suffolk constituency would continue to benefit from the larger highway network and the strong road links of A11 and A14. 

3.7       The West Suffolk constituency would continue to benefit from two train stations and strong bus links.  

3.8 The need for a cross county constituency to accommodate numbers and create electoral equality is accepted but it is strongly felt that a Norfolk/Suffolk constituency would be more logical. For example, Norfolk and Suffolk police forces have already been praised as setting a benchmark for cross border collaboration and share several joint units.

4. Conclusion

4.1 We object in the strongest terms to the boundary commission proposals.

4.2 We considers that the proposed Haverhill and Halstead constituency would be a constituency of divided communities.

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