Woking MP Jonathan Lord has come up with a simpler, more streamlined solution to the Boundary Commission’s proposals to relieve Woking of Byfleet in a Parliamentary review.
Although the plan is to reduce the 650 constituencies to 600 countrywide, the commission is not proposing to change the number in Surrey, where there are 11. However, each one must by law contain no less than 71,031 electors and no more than 78,507. The electorates of two constituencies, Runnymede & Weybridge and Spelthorne, are below the 5% limit, while Esher & Walton is 5% above.
To increase the Spelthorne electorate, the commission proposes to include the ward of Chertsey St Ann’s from Runnymede & Weybridge, and for the latter ward to take in Byfleet to meet the required quota. The board also plans to the move both Bisley in the Surrey Heath constituency, and Send in Mole Valley, to Woking. As Esher & Walton is currently above the quota, the commission proposes that the Oxshott & Stoke D’Abernon ward be transferred to Mole Valley.
Mr Lord told the News & Mail: “But this involves changing six constituencies in the process.” He is supported in this by his fellow Surrey MPs when he says he wants to minimise the changes. He explained: “We are saying that we need the least disturbance with maximum effect. “I suggest that, instead, Spelthorne takes Thorpe, while Esher & Walton lose Hersham South to Runnymede & Walton. Then the other eight constituencies would then remain unchanged.
Obviously Dominic Raab MP will feel very sorry to lose Hersham, and Philip Hammond MP about losing Thorpe, but it is my understanding that these minimal changes will cause the least damage in the difficult problem of meeting the quota.” Fiercely protective of Byfleet, which has been in the borough of Woking since 1950, Mr Lord also has the backing of Conservative Association officials, Brookwood residents, and Byfleet, and West Byfleet & Pyrford Residents’ Association. He said: “I am extremely keen that Byfleet remains part of Woking. “The village is a vibrant community and proud of its local heritage, but looks to Woking borough and the wider community for representation at both a local and national level. “I will fight as hard as I can to retain Byfleet as part of the Woking constituency.
Residents’ Association Chairman Godfrey Chapples totally agrees with Mr Lord’s proposals. He told the News & Mail: “I am very, very pleased to hear about this. Let us hope Mr Lord is victorious in this. It is so much more acceptable and I hope they make good his endeavours. He has my full support. What the commission proposes is so absurd – people just want to have consistency. They want status quo – for Byfleet to remain in the constituency of Woking is very important.”
Mr Lord added: “I will be advising residents to write in to the Boundary Commission to that effect. I’m convinced there will be strong representation. I urge all Woking residents, and Byfleet in particular, to make their views known to the consultation.”
Make a representation
Views can be given to the Boundary Commission either in writing or in person (oral representations).
The commission encourages everyone who wishes to comment on its proposals in writing to do so through the interactive consultation website at www.bce2018.org.uk – where there are all the details you need to be able to comment directly through the website.
The body also welcomes oral representations at one of a series of public hearings it is conducting during the consultation period. People are welcome to both attend a hearing and submit comments through the website if they choose to.
The eight-week consultation has already started (16 September). Residents have until 5 December to make their comments known, after which the submissions will be published.