HAVING read MP Norman Baker’s views on the proposed parliamentary boundary review I felt I needed to check whether this was part of a Save Lewes for Norman campaign, or whether his protestations were valid.
After several hours of trying to digest the information on Boundary Commission’s website it seems he is entirely justified in questioning the recommendations.
Sadly, it seems to be further example of the demands of Brighton and Hove City dominating their neighbours’ best interests.
Does that seem familiar? “Poohaven”, where Peacehaven being is forced to take the city’s effluent, and in Newhaven, their rubbish at the incinerator.
The review report states the problem quite clearly from the outset – the Brighton and Hove’s population should lead to an allocation of 2.54 seats, (para 24) rather than the three they have at present, so to fit in with Brighton’s demands, the surrounding area must squash up into an unrecognisable shape.
Dealing with the proposed Uckfield Constituency (which includes Newhaven and Seaford) the justification is summed up by its comment “Due to the changes elsewhere we propose an entirely new Uckfield Constituency” (para 39).
No positive reasons are given for this odd north/south shaped area, so one must conclude it’s just the bits left over when all the other changes have been made!
Furthermore in reaching its unwelcome proposals, the Boundary Commission is contradicting its own principles.
In its opening commentary on the initial proposals for the South East Region it asserts “we were mindful of seeking to respect, where we could, the external boundaries of the local authorities” and “(where we could) obvious practical groupings such as those directed in some part by the geography of the area” (paragraph 22).
In proposing this abomination of an Uckfield Constituency, it has failed to respect either local authority boundaries or the geography of the area, to say nothing of shared community interests.
But perhaps the final insult is that the Lewes Constituency will suffer the major damage from the Boundary Commission’s proposals to reduce the number of constituencies in the South East Region, (which covers an area including Oxfordshire, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Southampton, Kent and the Medway towns) from 84 to 83 – a reduction of just one Member of Parliament!
I would urge everyone to support Norman Baker (pictured) in his attempts to get these terrible recommendations overturned.
Meads Road, Seaford