Newstead may be in line for political boundary change

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NEWSTEAD could be placed in Nottingham as part of a radical review of Parliamentary constituency boundaries in England.

The Boundary Commission for England (BCE), which is an independent body, is currently reviewing all constituencies and the plans will see the total number reduced from 533 to 502.

The aim of the scheme, which was unveiled last week, is to make sure each constituency has a similar number of registered voters.

A consultation process is now underway and people have until 5th December to have their say.

The changes are set to be implemented by the next General Election, which is scheduled for 2015, and the report must be presented to Parliament by 2013.

Newstead is currently in the Sherwood constituency alongside other Gedling villages such as Calverton, Lambley, Ravenshead, and Woodborough, and others in Newark and Sherwood district like Bilsthorpe, Boughton, Edwinstowe and Ollerton.

But under the new proposals, it would fall under Nottingham North and Hucknall alongside areas such as Bulwell, Bestwood and Daybrook in the city. The constituency is currently represented by Labour MP Graham Allen.

Sherwood MP Mark Spencer, who won his seat at the last election, described the plans as ‘radical’ but added that the system needed ‘a good shake-up’.

He said: “It’s difficult to be objective. You inevitably get attached to the bit you represent.

“I feel I have done work in this part of the world and I would be quite sorry to lose it if that’s what we end up with.”

And he added: “I have supported the Boundary Review all the way through and it would be disingenuous to say I don’t support it any more because I don’t like what they are suggesting.

“It will be down to the party to decide which (constituency) I stand in.”

Under the proposals, the Ashfield constituency would remain the same.

This includes all areas in the district apart from Hucknall, along with Eastwood and Brinsley in Broxtowe borough.

Simon James, secretary to the Boundary Commission, said: “Parliament has set clear rules on what we can and can’t do when it comes to developing our initial proposals.

“BCE was given clear principles and from that starting point we have found a solution that we think best meets Parliament’s rules and now we want to know what people think of our initial proposals.”

Yesterday Newstead residents had mixed feelings about the proposals.

Diane Sharpe said: “I would prefer to leave it as it is. What do they know in Nottingham? What do they care?

“I think our local MP lives more or less round here at least - otherwsie we’d have to trek all the way to Nottingham. I’d much rather stay where we are.”

Her thoughts were echoed by husband and wife Clarence and Christine Hayes.

Clarence said: “We should just stay as we are. Me and my wife have lived here all our lives and we have seen some changes, some for better and some for worse.”

But householder Thelma Ahmed said she backed the proposals.

She said: “I think it might be a good idea because we are a forgotten village round here. In winter we are cut off - they don’t bother with the roads and it’s impossible to get out whichever way you go because you have got hills.”

The consultation is open until 5th December. To have your say on the planned changes, visit consultation.boundarycommissionforengland.independent.gov.uk.