MP constituencies get an overhaul

DETAIL The new map showing the proposed boundary
DETAIL The new map showing the proposed boundary

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POLITICIANS have voiced dismay over radical plans to join Horndean and Fareham together as an electoral ward.

The shake-up has been announced by the Boundary Commission for England in a bid to reduce the number of MPs at the next election, saving around £12m.

The changes will see a new constituency created, Horndean and Fareham, which will take seven Fareham wards and 12 from Meon Valley – which will disappear.

It will also include Denmead and Cowplain.

But many feel the changes are unfair, with electoral wards differing wildly from council boundaries.

Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, will see his ward, Sarisbury, falling under a new Hedge End and Hamble constituency.

He said: ‘I think the whole thing is just absurd.

‘Not least because of the fact four MPs will now cover Fareham borough.

‘It seems no thought has been given whatsoever to any sort of community.

‘The fact is, numbers for Fareham were correct anyway. ’

Fareham will potentially be represented by four MPs, with Hill Head and Stubbington falling under Gosport, Portchester under Portsmouth West, Park Gate, Sarisbury, Warsash and Titchfield Common under Hedge End and Hamble and the rest under Fareham and Horndean.

Fareham MP Mark Hoban, who voted to reduce the number of MPs, said: ‘They are quite radical changes and much more radical than anyone expected in terms of the outcome for south east Hampshire.

‘Clearly we need to look at them quite carefully. ‘It will mean breaking up Fareham borough into four and it does present challenges for representing local residents.

‘I don’t think it’s a good deal for Fareham residents. I think it’s helpful to be close as to council boundaries.’

The changes would see Havant take Waterloo and Rowlands Castle while East Hampshire would take on Clanfield and Finchdean, all from Meon Valley.

Councillor, Julia Marshall, who represents Horndean on East Hampshire District Council, said: ‘Fareham is very built up and parts of Horndean are still small villages. Joining East Hampshire would make much more sense.’

In a statement the Boundary Commission said there were clear rules on developing proposals for new constituencies. ‘For example, all constituencies in the UK (apart from four specified exceptions) must now contain similar numbers of electors – between 72,810 and 80,473 – and the total number of constituencies in England is being reduced from 533 to 502. Across the country, we have proposed solutions that we think best meet Parliament’s rules and now we want to know what people think of our initial proposals.’