All change on political boundaries

A major shake-up in constituency boundaries looks likely, with sweeping changes planned in rural Wyre, Lancaster and the Ribble Valley.

Under proposals announced yesterday the current parliamentary seat of Wyre and Preston North will disappear along with the current seat of Lancaster and Fleetwood.

The current Ribble Valley seat would lose several of its wards, including those in Longridge, to a new Lancaster-centred seat, but gain new wards including Earby and Craven in Pendle Council’s area.

Details of the proposed changes were being closely studied this week by Lancashire’s political leaders, including sitting Conservative MPs Ben Wallace (Wyre and Preston North) and Eric Ollerenshaw (Lancaster and Fleetwood).

Their seats will disappear under the changes, which could result in the interesting scenario of both of them applying for the Tory ticket for the new-look Lancaster-centred seat.

There has been shock in the Ribble Valley at the potential loss of the five wards (Alston / Hothersall, Chipping, Derby / Thornley, Dilworth and Ribchester) to the new Lancaster seat.

The Lancaster seat would also take in Garstang and the rural Wyre wards as well as Preston Rural East and Rural North wards from the Preston area.

In terms of political impact, it is likely that both the Lancaster seat and re-shaped Ribble Valley seat would both remain Conservative, though Lancaster would be likely to see the bigger political tussle between Tory and Labour.

* For political reaction to the proposed boundary changes see next week’s Garstang Courier and Longridge News.

Politically the changes