Last chance to have your say on the shape of Welwyn Hatfield’s constituency
PUBLISHED: 16:54 01 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:34 01 December 2017
Welwyn Hatfield’s constituency could grow by over three and a half thousand people and take on two new wards in a proposed boundary change.
The Boundary Commission is making its final public consultation to redraw England’s constituencies.
The deadline for public comments is Monday, December 11.
The review proposes how to reduce the number of parliamentary seats in England from 533 to 501 in an effort to balance out the number of people in each constituency.
The boundary changes will have no effect on council tax, local tax or insurance premiums, according to the Commission.
Welwyn Hatfield’s current MP Grant Shapps said he welcomed the proposed changes and added: “Welwyn Hatfield constituency boundaries have not revised since a review back in 1992.
“In the meantime, our population size has changed dramatically.
“By the next election due in June 2022, we will be working off boundaries which are 30 years out of date.”
The goal is to ensure no constituency has more than 78,507 people, or fewer than 71,031.
Currently, Welwyn Hatfield has 69,042 people, but in the current proposals it will have 72,763 by the 2022 general election.
The plans mean that the wards of Hertford Rural North and Hertford Rural South - including the villages of Bramfield, Tewin and Stapleford - will no longer be part of the North and East Hertfordshire constituency, but Welwyn Hatfield instead.
North and East Hertfordshire will be renamed Royston and Letchworth.
Sir Oliver Heald, MP for North and East Hertfordshire, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “I would be sad to lose any of my constituency, but the bulk of my constituency particularly in terms of numbers goes into the new Royston and Letchworth constituency.
He added that the issues that the MP for Welwyn Hatfield would have to take on include the health of chalk streams the Mimram, Beane and Lea, the restoration of gravel workings, planning issues, poor broadband speeds and the need for improved roads.
Councillor Linda Haysey, leader of the council for Hertford Rural South ward, said: “We have enjoyed being represented by Oliver Heald, and we look forward to working with whichever MP is in place in 2022.”
Labour councillor Kieran Thorpe, opposition leader for Welwyn Hatfield council, said he objected to the current proposal.
“Locally there is no credible reason to bring these areas under the banner of Welwyn Hatfield when they are clearly not a part of this constituency,” he said.
He argued that the proposed boundary changes “slightly favour” the Conservatives’ electoral chances.
He added: “I’ve never agreed with the notion that Parliament is improved or made fairer by reducing its size.
“If anything the feeling of disconnect people have with those who purport to represent them will simply increase and worsen our politics.”
The changes will be put to a parliamentary vote in 2018.
You can view the full proposals and leave your comments on the public consultation website until December 11: https://www.bce2018.org.uk