Electoral chiefs have gone back to the drawing board over plans to change Hartlepool’s voting boundaries.
The Electoral Commission for England previously proposed including parts of Billingham into a new-look Hartlepool Parliamentary constituency boundary, while removing the town’s Hart and De Bruce wards.
But the proposals received considerable objections during consultation during the summer prompting the commission to think again.
Instead, it is now proposing to keep all of Hartlepool in the constituency and include Wingate and Blackhall.
All of Billingham is now proposed to become part of a constituency along with Sedgefield.
Revised proposals state: “In our initial proposals, we proposed a Hartlepool and Billingham constituency comprising nine wards from the Hartlepool local authority, and four of the five Billingham wards.
“The majority of residents objected to this proposed constituency on the basis that the towns of Hartlepool and Billingham shared very little commonality and were geographically distinct.
“Our assistant commissioners carefully considered the representations received that objected to the proposed Hartlepool and Billingham constituency, and sought alternative solutions.”
Objectors added the Hart and De Bruce wards would become “orphans” and detached from their established communities under the previous proposals.
A third and final round of consultation on the changes starts today and ends on December 11.
It follows a decision by Parliament to reduce the number of constituencies in the UK to from 650 to 600, and for the number of voters in each constituency to be the same.
Sam Hartley, Secretary to the Boundary Commission for England, said: “Based on what people have said to us, we have revised more than half of our initial proposals.
“The new map of the country we publish today is, we think, close to the best set of Parliamentary constituencies we can achieve, based on the rules to which we work and the evidence given to us by local citizens.
“But we still want people to tell us what they think of this latest map before we make our final recommendations to Parliament next year.”
You can view and comment on the new plans at the website www.bce2018.org.uk