How 'strange' boundary changes affects Bucks' constituencies
The boundary review explained
Some of you may be wondering how and where the newly proposed constituency boundaries in Bucks will affect your lives.
The Bucks Herald has attempted to clearly explain the proposed changes below.
What’s the fuss about?
Initial proposals for new constituency boundaries have been published by the Boundary Commission for England (BCE) and are available for public feedback as part of an eight-week consultation process.
The “2023 Review” of Parliamentary constituencies proceeds on legislative rules most recently updated by Parliament in 2020. The intention is to ensure the number of electors in each constituency is more equal.
For example, in the current system, some MPs have just 50,000 constituents, while others could have double that. As a result, the number of constituencies in England will increase from 533 to 543 – but seats in the House of Commons will stay at 650.
Parliamentary seats will be redrawn so they each have between 69,724 and 77,062 electors. Under the ‘wide scale change’ proposed, just under 10 per cent of the existing 533 English constituencies remain unchanged.
The BCE will present final recommendations to Parliament by July 2023.
What will happen in Bucks?
The unitary Bucks Council is currently using the county electoral divisions of the former County Council, meaning wards are unusually large, both geographically and in terms of electorate size.
Under the proposals, Bucks will see an increase from seven to eight constituencies.
Only Chesham and Amersham has an electorate within the permitted range – the other six all exceed it (e.g. Aylesbury – 86,002).
Under the proposals, the Chesham and Amersham constituency would include the wards of Hazlemere and Beaconsfield – and Asheridge Vale and Lowndes (Chiltern Ridges ward).
The remaining part of Chiltern Ridges ward would be in a proposed Princes Risborough constituency, largely comprising the southern part of the Aylesbury Vale area.
As a result, the Beaconsfield constituency would also be renamed ‘Marlow and South Buckinghamshire’, while the Hazlemere constituency would be called High Wycombe.
The Aylesbury constituency will include Aylesbury town itself, and Ivinghoe and Wing wards.
While Buckingham will be included in a constituency that crosses the boundary with Milton Keynes Council, around Bletchley.
What has been the response?
“I think it’s ridiculous to put the heart of the Old Town into Gerrards Cross,” said Independent councillor for Beaconsfield Cllr Andrea Essery. Adding: “It needs to come back to be part of Beaconsfield. As for the rest, very strange ideas on there.” A resident described Beaconsfield becoming part of the Chesham and Amersham constituency as “crazy”.
How do I get involved?
People can comment on anything during the consultation, from where the proposed new boundary lines are, to the names of the constituencies. There will be a further two rounds of consultation in 2022.
Following the conclusion of all three consultation periods, the Commission will look at all the evidence received and form its final recommendations. Public views on the proposals should be submitted no later than August 2, the closing date for this consultation stage. For more information, visit www.bcereviews.org.uk