Saturday, 18 March 2017

New Constituency Boundaries - Have Your Say By 27th March

The Proposed new Parliamentary constituency boundaries

"Luton North And Houghton" - You have until 27th March to comment on the views put forward.

◘  The new draft constituencies for Parliamentary elections lump 'Houghton'  in with Luton North. The new boundaries would only affect the MP you vote for. It would not affect who you pay your council tax to, or your address.

◘  Notionally, pundits reckon the two enlarged Luton wards would go to Labour.

◘  The Boundary Commission proposed these new constituencies to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 from 2018.

◘  'Bedfordshire South West' would continue as 'South West Bedfordshire' with new boundaries.  Houghton Regis, Sewell, Caddington, Studham, Whipsnade, Kensworth, Holywell would no longer be represented by the Bedfordshire South West MP (currently Andrew Selous)

◘  https://www.bce2018.org.uk/ lists comments made by local people during the consultation. None of the 14 comments from Houghton Regis side favoured the merger with Luton North. The majority of comments on the Luton side are favourable.

◘  Kelvin Hopkins, the current MP for Luton North spoke at the public enquiry in November saying, "I think what the Boundary Commission has done is sensible. As far as Luton North is concerned, I think we would accept and warmly support what the Boundary Commission has proposed. "

◘  Comments supporting or disagreeing with views put forward in the initial consultation are welcomed during the statutory four-week secondary consultation period, which runs until the end of 27 March 2017. To see the comments made, and to make comment go to https://www.bce2018.org.uk/

The unitary authority boundaries in Luton and in Central Bedfordshire that would make up the new Constituency.

People from Houghton Regis commented on the Boundary Commission's proposals:

A "There is no reason to move Houghton Regis to Luton north. Houghton Regis is not part of Luton and I do not want it to be. We are closer to Dunstable so south west Bedfordshire is where we should be. I am not happy with the proposed change and I know a lot of other people will not be happy either."

B "I feel very concerned to be included in a new area, North Luton and Houghton Regis. Houghton Regis is part of Dunstable and we consider ourselves to be Dunstablians. "

C "As a resident of Houghton Regis, I and many others abhor the idea of being part of Luton North. It is far better that we remain in the Dunstable ward."

D "From the areas outlined on the map of Houghton Regis & Luton it shows that my area has got most of the labour supporters in it whilst the surrounding areas will greatly favour the tories.
Surely it would be far fairer if the voters were evenly split, not favouring either side."

E "As a resident of Dunstable since 1964, currently in Houghton Regis. I was disturbed by the objective in government, of border changes effectively giving Luton domination over Houghton Regis. Strictly for reasons of the differing social attitudes between the areas... Finally if cost cutting is the objective, as quoted, then more would be saved by reducing the House of Lords numbers."

F "I live in Central Bedfordshire - not Luton Borough - and I wish to remain as Central Bedfordshire. If I wanted to live within the Borough of Luton, I would have bought a house there. I oppose the suggested boundary change."

G "I don't think Houghton Regis should be lumped into Luton's boundary, we are not part of Luton, and locals don't want to be.....we are on the outskirts of Dunstable and as such should be within the Dunstable boundary. Just looking at the map makes that obvious."

H "Houghton Regis has, for the last 40+ years, been connected with Dunstable in local and national politics. There is no natural connection between Houghton Regis and a small section of Luton, and the M1 motorway forms a barrier which divides the proposed constituency in two. This is why I think it is a totally ridiculous suggestion."

I "As this includes the whole of Houghton Regis, please at least call it "Luton North and Houghton Regis". I don't like the idea of our town's name being squished.
What is the significance of adding "BC" to the end of the name? Luton wards might be under a Borough Council but Houghton Regis is under Central Bedfordshire Council and I would like it to stay that way, please."

J "I do not like the new proposed boundaries as our little relatively crime free town will be put in together with Marsh Farm and Leagrave which are very very rough areas. Why can't you leave the boundaries like they were? I do not think with the new boundaries our town will prosper, just feel like it will be left on the sidelines to deal with all the mess in the other areas mentioned before."

K "Whilst it is understandable that these changes need to be made, I think it really needs to be considered on a local level.
Many residents of Houghton Regis,would closely identify with neighbouring Dunstable, and Eaton Bray as compared to the large almost city like town of Luton. Residents from Houghton both shop, work, go to school and such in Dunstable compared to Luton, mainly due to the fact that they are both considered small towns when put up against the quite lively hustle and bustle of Luton. ... I do not wish to loose an MP who excels at local, simple, yet important issues, rather than someone who must die with the issues of a town like Luton."

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Hazel Simmons, (leader of Luton Borough Council) and being the only responding resident from Lewsey Farm, wrote, "The commission's proposals result in a minimal amount of change to the two Luton constituencies. As well as moving the rest of the Caddington Ward into Luton South, it moved a smaller two council member ward - Barnfield from the North to the South. Luton North gains Houghton Regis.

Although Houghton Regis does fall outside the Borough it does have a natural affinity to Luton and follows natural communities.

Moving Houghton Regis into Luton North is a better option that putting part of Dunstable - which identifies itself as a distinct town - into the new constituency.

I therefore fully support these proposals of the BCE."

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Kelvin Hopkins, MP,  speaking at the public enquiry in Luton on 7th November 2016, "I have to say that the previous approach, which was to put Dunstable in with Luton North, was, for me, equally acceptable to putting Houghton Regis in, but Houghton Regis - I am very happy with that; I think it is sensible, it is a contiguous urban area and an area I know personally very well indeed, and I have campaigned both in Dunstable and in Houghton Regis on several occasions, and I think populations are rather somewhat similar as well. We have Central Bedfordshire College in Dunstable, which
takes a lot of my constituents, so we are part of the same urban area, and I think that what has been proposed is very sensible.
A number of different formulations could be used, and I have drawn lines on maps myself to look at different alternatives, but I have to say that I think what the Boundary Commission has done is sensible. As far as Luton North is concerned, I think we would accept and warmly support what the Boundary Commission has proposed. "

Andrew Selous, MP also spoke at this enquiry, saying he was, " very sorry to see any part of my constituency removed; that very much includes the town of Houghton Regis." He then restricted his comments to a plead to keep Studham, Kensworth and Caddington out of Luton South.




People Have Been Having Their Say on our Facebook Page ...