Residents of Hartlepool’s Fens estate have welcomed planned boundary changes which they say will protect its identity.
People of the estate and the Fens Residents Association strongly urged the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) not to divide the estate into different ward boundaries when it redrew the political map of Hartlepool.
The association was particularly concerned at submissions by Hartlepool Borough Council to the commission which the residents said would have seen the Fens ‘wiped off the map’ by it falling into three different wards.
But the commission is recommending that the Fens becomes part of a new ward along with Greatham.
Currently it is part of the Fens and Rossmere ward.
Robert Smith, chair of the Fens Residents Association, said: “The residents are very pleased at the boundary commission’s final recommendations which means that the identity of the Fens will be protected by the creation of a new Fens and Greatham Ward.
“In its report the boundary commission underlined the strength of the responses from the residents and the residents association.
“It was a consultation which worked and was well supported by the local community and that was acknowledged by the Local Government Boundary Commission.”
The rural parishes of Brierton, Claxton and Newton Bewley will also be part of the new Fens and Greatham Ward.
Mr Smith said the residents’ campaign was vigorously supported by the local Labour Party, Putting Hartlepool First group, three ward councillors and MP Mike Hill.
The boundary commission stated: “Submissions received from the Fens Residents’
Association and numerous residents stated that the Fens Community should remain wholly intact given its strong community identity and active residents’ association.”
The commission is recommending that Hartlepool should be represented by 36 councillors in 12 wards in future instead of 33 and eleven wards currently.
Subject to parliamentary scrutiny and approval the new electoral arrangements will come into force at the local elections in 2020.
All but one of Hartlepool’s current council wards are set to change as a result of the review.
For full details of the proposals go to http://www.lgbce.org.uk/ and search for Hartlepool.