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CONSTITUENCY BOUNDARIES IN THE COUNTY OF NORTHUMBERLAND

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The commission will publish provisional recommendations on 6 July ...
The commission will publish provisional recommendations on 6 July

2000 for minor changes to two of the four constituencies in the

county of Northumberland.

Provisional Recommendations

1. The county of Northumberland currently has four constituencies

with a parliamentary electorate in 2000 of 243,223. This number of

electors, when divided by the 2000 electoral quota (69,932), gives a

theoretical entitlement to 3.48 seats. The electoral quota is

explained in 'Background Note' below.

2. The commission have provisionally decided to continue to

allocate four seats to Northumberland. They noted that if they were

to allocate only three constituencies to Northumberland, the average

electorate of each constituency would be 81,074, which is 11,142

above the electoral quota. The allocation of four seats results in a

county average of 60,806, which is 9,126 below the electoral quota.

They also noted that at the third general review of parliamentary

constituencies in England (1976-1982), the newly created county of

Northumberland had a theoretical entitlement to 3.30 seats, but that

it had been allocated four seats because of the sparsely populated

rural north and west of the county. The commission considered that

the factors that led their predecessors to allocate four

constituencies still applied, and that to allocate three

constituencies would probably result in the two largest

constituencies in England in terms of area.

3. The commission noted that the electorates of the four existing

seats range from 57,117 in Berwick-upon-Tweed CC to 63,329 in

Wansbeck CC, a disparity of 6,212. They therefore decided that there

was no need to make any change to the existing pattern of seats in

Northumberland, other than to take account of changes required by the

new wards that came into effect in each district on 6 May 1999. The

Commission noted that the only change that needed to be made

concerned the Castle Morpeth Borough ward of Hartburn, which is now

split between Berwick-upon-Tweed CC and Hexham CC.

4. The commission do not divide district wards between

constituencies. Therefore, they propose to realign the constituency

boundaries to take account of the divided ward as part of this

general review. They decided that the whole of the ward should be

included in Berwick- upon-Tweed CC, which would result in the

transfer of the parishes of Belsay and Capheaton to

Berwick-upon-Tweed CC from Hexham CC. This change also reduced the

disparity between the electorates to 5,758.

5. The commission decided not to make any changes to Blyth Valley

BC or Wansbeck CC. They noted that these constituencies were well

established, had electorates close to the county average, and

respected district boundaries. They considered that any change to

these constituencies was therefore unnecessary and would break

established local ties.

6. The proposed new constituencies are illustrated in outline on

the sketch map which forms part of this document (please note the

copyright warning below concerning the map). The letters on the map

refer to the districts and the numbers refer to the district wards.

The map is to be used in conjunction with the ward listing at the end

of this document which shows the letters and districts, the numbers

and wards, and the 2000 ward electorates on which the Commission are

required by law to work.

7. The commission have been informed that there is an error in

Ordnance Survey's Boundary Line data which has been used to produce

the attached map. The error is at the south-western end of the

boundary between the Prudhoe South and Prudhoe West wards of the

District of Tynedale which should extend slightly further southwards.

This error does not affect the Commission's proposals because the

whole of Tynedale District is contained within the Hexham

constituency.

8. The composition of the four constituencies provisionally

recommended would be (the 2000 electorates are shown in brackets):-

BERWICK-UPON-TWEED COUNTY CONSTITUENCY (57,571). The District of

Alnwick; the Borough of Berwick-upon-Tweed; and six wards of the

Borough of Castle Morpeth:- Chevington, Ellington, Hartburn,

Longhorsley, Lynemouth, Ulgham.

BLYTH VALLEY BOROUGH CONSTITUENCY (62,657). The Borough of Blyth

Valley.

HEXHAM COUNTY CONSTITUENCY (59,666). Seven wards of the Borough of

Castle Morpeth:- Heddon-on-the-Wall, Ponteland East, Ponteland North,

Ponteland South, Ponteland West, Stamfordham, Stannington; and the

District of Tynedale.

WANSBECK COUNTY CONSTITUENCY (63,329). Seven wards of the Borough of

Castle Morpeth:- Hebron, Hepscott and Mitford, Morpeth Central,

Morpeth Kirkhill, Morpeth North, Morpeth South, Morpeth Stobhill,

Pegswood; and the District of Wansbeck.

9. Please note that the wards have not been shown for those

boroughs and districts (eg the District of Alnwick) where the whole

of the borough or district is contained within the proposed

constituency. However, as already mentioned, a full ward listing with

2000 ward electorates is given at the end of this document.

10. The wards named in this document are the new wards that were

created by the following Orders and which came into effect at the

local elections on 6 May 1999:

The District of Alnwick (Electoral Changes) Order 1998;

The Borough of Berwick-upon-Tweed (Electoral Changes) Order 1998;

The Borough of Blyth Valley (Electoral Changes) Order 1998;

The Borough of Castle Morpeth (Electoral Changes) Order 1998;

The District of Tynedale (Electoral Changes) Order 1998;

The District of Wansbeck (Electoral Changes) Order 1998.

Publication of Provisional Recommendations

11. The provisional recommendations will be published formally in a

notice appearing in local newspapers in Northumberland on 6 July

2000. Local authorities, MPs, the Political Parties' Headquarters,

and others will be sent a copy of the recommendations. The notice

will also be published on the commission's web site at:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/ other_activities/pbc.asp.

Places of Inspection

12. The notice in local newspapers will also give the addresses

where a copy of the recommendations, and a more detailed map

illustrating them, have been made available for inspection by the

public (please note the copyright warning below concerning the map).

Those addresses are:-

ALNWICK Council Offices, Allerburn House, Alnwick

ASHINGTON Town Hall, Station Road, Ashington

BERWICK-UPON-TWEED Council Offices, Wallace Green, Berwick-upon-Tweed

BLYTH Civic Centre, Renwick Road, Blyth

CRAMLINGTON Cramlington Library, Forum Way, Cramlington

HADSTON Hadston Housing Offices, 23 The Precinct, Hadston

HEXHAM Council Offices, Hexham House, Hexham

MORPETH Council Offices, The Kylins, Loansden, Morpeth

PONTELAND Ponteland Housing Offices, Merton Road, Ponteland

SEATON DELAVAL Council Offices, Avenue Road, Seaton Delaval

Representation Period: 6 July 2000 to 6 August 2000

13. The commission are required to consider representations about

their provisional recommendations made within one month of local

publication on 6 July 2000. Representations should be addressed to

the Boundary Commission for England, PO Box 31060, London, SW1V 2FF,

or faxed to 020 7533 5176, or emailed to gerald.tessier@ons.gov.uk.

All representations received by the commission will be acknowledged.

The representation period will end on 6 August 2000.

14. Please note that the commission are not statutorily required to

consider any representations made after 6 August 2000, but will

endeavour to take late representations into account. However, the

later the representation is made, the more difficult this will be.

The commission therefore ask that all representations be made within

the one month period. In the event that a local inquiry is held into

the provisional recommendations, all representations will be made

public beforehand so that interested persons may prepare for the

local inquiry. Any representation received too late to be issued with

the other representations before the local inquiry cannot be given

the same weight as the other representations because other interested

persons will not have had the same opportunity to consider it.

15. Where representations objecting to the provisional

recommendations are made by an interested county or district council

or by a body of 100 or more electors, the commission cannot proceed

with their final recommendations to the home secretary until a local

inquiry has been held. If the commission decide to alter their

recommendations as a result of the inquiry, the revised

recommendations must also be published and representations invited,

but a further local inquiry is not obligatory.

16. Those who make representations are requested to say whether

they approve of, or object to, the commission's proposals and to give

their reasons for their approval or objection. In particular,

objectors are advised to say what they propose in place of the

commission's recommendations and should note that an objection

accompanied by a counter-proposal is likely to carry more weight than

a simple statement of objection.

17. The commission wish to stress that their provisional

recommendations relate solely to parliamentary constituencies and do

not affect county, district or parish boundaries, taxes or services.

The commission will therefore not take account of any representation

made about those local issues.

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