Shifting the boundaries: Electoral Commission’s new plans for Hartlepool

If agreed by Parliament, the new constituencies will be in use at the next scheduled General Election in 2022.
If agreed by Parliament, the new constituencies will be in use at the next scheduled General Election in 2022.

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.

How the Hartlepool County constituency would look under the new proposals.

How the Hartlepool County constituency would look under the new proposals.

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.

How the Billingham and Sedgefield consituency would look under the new proposals.

How the Billingham and Sedgefield consituency would look under the new proposals.

“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.

How the City of Durham and Easington constituency would look under the new boundary proposals.

How the City of Durham and Easington constituency would look under the new boundary proposals.

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