Local residents are being invited to have their say on proposals for major boundary changes that could see the people of Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge represented by an MP covering Bridgwater instead of Wells.
The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) published its initial proposals last year, as we reported here, for a shake-up of parliamentary constituencies which would take effect before the next UK general election.
In our area, the proposals are for Bridgwater to be disconnected from West Somerset when a new constituency is formed to include Bridgwater, Burnham-On-Sea, Berrow, Brean, Highbridge, Huntspill, North Petherton, Puriton, Woolavington, King’s Isle and Quantocks, as shown above.
Following the first round of consultation, which ended last summer, the BCE has published a list of four public hearings which will be held as part of a new second round of consultation when local people can have their say.
Under the nationwide proposals, the total number of seats in the House of Commons will remain at 650 – but the number of constituencies in England will increase from 533 to 543. The new boundaries aim to make representation more equal, with each of the new seats having a population of between 69,724 and 77,062 people.
The area covered by Somerset County Council is currently divided into five constituencies – Bridgwater and West Somerset, Somerton and Frome, Taunton Deane, Wells and Yeovil, all of which currently have Conservative MPs.
Under the new proposals, these boundaries will be redrawn with new seats being created – with some of the new seats including parishes from neighbouring counties.
There is now a further round of consultation for people to have their say. Those wishing to make a spoken representation at a public hearing can book a timed slot in advance.
To book, visit the dedicated public hearings page on the Boundary Commission website and click on your chosen hearing. You will then be invited to register via the booking platform Eventbrite.
A step by step guide for booking via Eventbrite is published on the Boundary Commissions public hearings webpage.