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Fens folk back plans for their community in proposals to redraw Hartlepool’s political map

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England's draft ward map for Hartlepool.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England's draft ward map for Hartlepool.

A residents’ group has welcomed proposed changes for its community in a new-look political map of Hartlepool.

The Fens Residents’ Association has described proposals by electorial boundary chiefs for which ward the estate should fall into as a ‘common sense solution’.

The Local Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is consulting on its draft plans to redraw the ward map so 36 borough councillors should be elected to Hartlepool Borough Council in future.

It has based its proposal for a new Fens and Greatham ward on submissions from the Labour Party and Putting Hartlepool First.

The Independent Group proposed a Fens West & Villages ward, which placed all the rural parishes into one ward, alongside the western part of the Fens.

And Hartlepool Borough Council’s proposals placed the Fens estate into three different wards; a new Rural ward, a newly created Park ward and partly in Rossmere.

Robert Smith, chair of Fens Residents Association

Robert Smith, chair of Fens Residents Association

The Boundary Commission said: “We have adopted this proposal based on the strong evidence received by the Fens Residents’ Association and local residents.

“It was argued that the Fens area should remain together within one ward and we note that the other proposals for this area divided this cohesive community between more than one borough ward.”

Robert Smith, chairman of the Fens Residents’ Association, said: “The review officer has come up with a common sense solution based on evidence provided by us, residents themselves, the local Labour Party and the Putting Hartlepool First group.

“The worst possible outcome for us would have been an acceptance of the Hartlepool Borough Council proposal to carve the Fens into three pieces to be distributed between three new wards.

“The consequences of this would have been the loss of our strong, distinct community identity and total confusion when residents wanted to know which ward they were in or which councillor to contact when help is needed.”

Mr Smith encouraged residents to let the commission know if it supports the proposals before the consultation closes on December 10.

The draft recommendations and maps can be viewed by going to https://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/north-east/hartlepool/hartlepool and comments can be submitted by emailing reviews@lgbce.org.uk.