Initial proposals in the latest boundary review would see Northfield constituency (currently comprising Kings Norton, Longbridge, Northfield and Weoley wards) split across three different constituencies.
The proposals by the Boundary Commission for England (BCE) would see the current constituency split across:
Birmingham Brandwood constituency
Kings Norton would split away from Northfield constituency. It would form part of a new Birmingham Brandwood constituency, along with parts of Kings Heath, Druid’s Heath, Billesley, Warstock, Heighter’s Heath, Springfield and Sparkhill.
Birmingham Selly Oak and Halesowen Constituency
Weoley and part of Northfield would become part of the new Birmingham Selly Oak and Halesowen constituency, the formation of which pulls in three Dudley Borough Council wards. The Ley Hill area, along with estates around the Hoggs Lane and Trescott areas of Northfield, will also fall into Selly Oak and Halesowen.
Birmingham Northfield constituency
The rest of the Northfield district (Frankley, Longbridge, most of Northfield, Rednal, West Heath) would stay together in a new Birmingham Northfield constituency. As well as the Ley Hill, Trescott and Hoggs Lane areas being moved out of the Northfield constituency, the town centre itself would be split. One side of the high street would be in Northfield constituency, while the other – including Sainsbury’s – would be in the Selly Oak and Halesowen constituency. The new boundary would pull in Bournville, Stirchley, Cotteridge, Moor Green and would also include Kings Heath (including the high street) and Moseley.
The shake up, which is not to be confused with the review of local authority ward boundaries which has just been completed, will see fewer MPs representing the West Midlands, with a new allocation of 53, down from 59. The number of parliamentary seats across England will be reduced by 32.
In this initial proposal, only 7 current constituencies in the West Midlands have not been altered.
The review’s recommendations have to ensure that each MP represents a constituency of between just over 71,000 and 78,500 registered voters.
Have your say:
BCE documents acknowledge that, while meeting the criteria laid down for the review, the initial boundaries proposed do not take into account how the cohesion of various communities would be affected: “What we do not yet have is evidence and intelligence of how our proposals reject or break local community ties. One of the most important purposes of the consultation period is to seek evidence that will enable us to review our initial proposals.”
It is therefore important for residents to have their say on how they feel the proposals in their current form affect their communities, business and groups.
View initial proposal map & leave a comment: Click the blue ‘Boundaries’ box on the top left to turn on labels
- 13th September 2016: Initial boundary proposals released and public consultation begins
- 5th December 2016: The initial consultation closes
- Spring 2017: 4 week secondary consultation – initial responses published, giving the public chance to see what others have said and respond.
- Late 2017: Revised proposals drawn up and published. 8 week public consultation period
- September 2018: Final recommendations drawn up by BCE and presented to the government by September 2018
Objection to process
A number of MPs, including Northfield’s Richard Burden, have expressed concerns about the fairness of the rules, set by Parliament in 2011, on which the review process is based.
One of the main concerns is the process of gathering the figures for constituency sizes. The constituency sizes are based on the number of people registered to vote at December 2015. It’s been argued that, in some areas, the electorate has grown by up to 20% since, leaving around 2 million people not counted in the figures. Others argue that constituency sizes should be based on population size, rather than the number of people registered to vote. One of the reasons being that many think this will leave some areas under-represented if they have a high population of certain groups that are less likely to be registered to vote (based on age, ethnicity, level of education, income etc).
Mr Burden said:”The Boundary Commission is independent and they treat their job very seriously. The problem is that the rules under which the Government wants them to operate this review are grossly unfair. The existence of around two million people is being ignored when these new boundaries are being drawn up. On top of that. The Government is demanding a cut in the number of elected MPs at the same time as it is increasing appointments to the unelected House of Lords. How can that be in the interests of democracy?”
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