MP blasts revised boundary plans

Political map: The proposed new constituency
Political map: The proposed new constituency

Details of the Parliamentary boundary shake-ups and how they affect this part of Lancashire have been unveiled by the Boundary Commission.

The commission’s revised proposals may set in motion the establishment of the county’s new constituencies on which voting may be based at the next general election.

It could see the area covering Lancaster to Fylde reduced from four constituencies to three.

The commission has been asked by the Government to cut the number of constituencies in England from 533 to 502.

In Lancashire, that will mean a reduction in the number of seats from 16 to 14, with some of the biggest boundary changes in the Courier’s circulation area.

The commission’s initial proposals included the scrapping of the area’s two current seats (North Preston/Wyre and Lancaster/Fleetwood), with the creation of a new Lancaster seat covering south Lancaster, rural Wyre, rural Preston and the Ribble Valley wards of Longridge, Ribchester and Chipping.

Now a revision of the initial proposals has seen the Ribble wards removed from the proposed Lancaster/Wyre seat and returned to the Ribble Valley constituency.

If the boundary changes are approved, the new Lancaster and Wyre seat will have an electorate of 75,970. Geographically it will stretch from Knott End in the west to Bleasdale and Abbeystead in the east, and from Lancaster Castle in the north to Woodplumpton and Grimsargh in the south. Garstang will be at its geographical centre.

MP Ben Wallace said he is dismayed that once again his area had been the target of changes.

His constituency of Wyre and Preston North will lose Thornton and Poulton in the north as well as Fulwood in the south, two of the most densely populated areas.

He said: “I’m dismayed that, once again, this part of Lancashire has been carved up in the way it has. But at the end of the day due to the stance of the Liberal Democrats, I think the proposals are unlikely to go through.”

The current Lancaster and Fleetwood seat, which includes the northern Over Wyre villages, will disappear as part of the changes, with Preesall and Pilling becoming part of the new Lancaster/Wyre seat. Fleetwood would be linked with Blackpool North in a new constituency.

The Poulton-le-Fylde area of the current Lancaster/Wyre seat looks likely to become part of an enlarged Fylde seat, which would also include rural Fylde, the Lea parish of Preston and Lytham St Annes.

The Fulwood part of the current Preston North/Wyre seat would become part of a new Preston seat.

Parliamentary approval for the changes is uncertain. Even though the reduction in seats is Conservative party policy, opposition from the Liberal Democrats could mean boundary changes not going ahead.

If the changes are adopted, it would mean one or the area’s two current Conservative MPs,Ben Wallace and Eric Ollerenshaw, being squeezed out in the selection process for the Tory ticket for the new Lancaster/Wyre seat.

The public now has until December 10 to put forward comments .