Friday 19 July 2024
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Nottingham

Debate over boundary proposal which could ‘split Beeston in two’

Councillors were divided over parliamentary boundary proposals which could see Beeston “split in two”.

The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) is reviewing the areas of parliamentary seats in England, with recommendations due to be published in July 2023.

The proposals suggest removing Kimberley and Nuthall from the Broxtowe Constituency and placing them in Nottingham North.

But MP for Broxtowe, Darren Henry (Con), has proposed Kimberley and Nuthall are retained in the Broxtowe Constituency and parts of Beeston are placed into the Nottingham South constituency.

He said in an “ideal world” the Broxtowe constituency would have the same boundaries as the Borough Council, but this is not possible due to the maximum number of electors allowed for each constituency.

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But Broxtowe Borough Council argues that “Nuthall, Kimberley and Beeston are distinct communities in their own right”.

Councillors could not agree on which solution would be best for the borough during the Governance, Audit and Standards Committee on March 14.

A six-week consultation period is planned before the Boundary Commission decides whether to reconsider its proposals.

Councillor David Watts (Lib Dem) said: “What I disagree with is the argument that Beeston should be split into two areas.

“The solution is to split up a community, that seems to be totally the wrong thing to do.

“The Henry solution splits Beeston into two. That seems to be an unworkable solution and one that I can’t see has any merit whatsoever.”

Councillor Philip Owen (Con) said that some residents had responded with “horror” to the plans.

He said: “You talk about the cohesiveness of Beeston, half of it is full of students.

“Those students have no particular loyalty one way or another. While they are here, they look to the university and the city.

“It’s not splitting a community, there is no homogeneous community in Beeston.”

Steve Carr (Lib Dem) added: “What the boundary commission’s proposal does is keeps communities whole.

“What our illustrious MP’s proposal means is that…one side of the road will be in one constituency and the other side of the road will be in another constituency.

“It’s absolute nonsense. Quite frankly I cannot see anything other than Darren Henry’s proposal as being some Northern Ireland type of gerrymandering to ensure he keeps a safe seat at the expense of three of the Beeston wards.

“I am not going to put up with these political shenanigans so my proposal would be that this council supports the original Boundary Commission proposal.”

Councillors voted six in favour, four against and two abstentions of Cllr Carr’s recommendation that the authority endorses the Boundary Commission’s proposal.

Mr Henry said in a statement: “I do not wish to lose any areas of the existing constituency but the reality is that some areas of Broxtowe will have to be represented by another MP after the next election. Regardless of which proposals are supported, communities will be split and the discussion we are having is whether that is Beeston or Greasley.

“After much consideration and discussion I feel that the majority of Beeston joining a Nottingham City constituency is far more homogeneous than it would be for Kimberley and Nuthall.

“Beeston has close ties to Nottingham through the University and the present boundary cuts across not just streets but individual buildings such as the Boots headquarters site and halls of residence making it hard to distinguish where one ends and the other begins.

“I feel that this is the best possible proposal in light of the situation that ensures the two communities have Parliamentary representation that best reflects the demographics and needs of local people.”

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