Pendle residents could find themselves voting for an MP in Burnley and the Ribble Valley if proposals go ahead to carve up parliamentary constituencies across the country.
The third and final stage of a national review that could change the shape of the country’s parliamentary boundaries has started.
Pendle and the Ribble Valley would see huge changes if the proposals are enacted.
Nelson, Brierfield and their satellite villages will be joined with Burnley wards wards to form a new Burnley constituency with an estimated 75,569 voters.
Towns and villages in the remainder of Pendle, including Colne, Barnoldswick and Barrowford, meanwhile, will become part of a new Ribble Valley constituency stretching from the Forest of Bowland in the north to the outskirts of Preston in the south, with an estimated 73,788 voters.
In the borough of Burnley the proposal is to move Gawthorpe, Hapton with Park (covering Padiham) and Coalclough with Deerplay wards into what is now Hyndburn, but change the constituency name to Accrington.
The Burnley constituency would expand northwards, taking in eight wards currently in Pendle and stretching up to, and including, Brierfield and Nelson.
Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “I am disappointed that the Boundary Commission has ignored the vast majority of comments from Pendle and Ribble Valley residents and are still proposing to split both boroughs in two.
“These proposals fail to reflect local communities in the area and would create a new seat stretching from Preston to the Yorkshire border.
“I will continue to urge the Boundary Commission to look again at these proposals.”
The Boundary Commission for England is considering constituency areas across England as part of a periodic review of the boundaries of all Parliamentary seats.
The overall aim is to have constituencies that have between 71,031 and 78,507 people eligible to vote living in them.
In Lancashire it is proposed to reduce the number of constituencies by two, to 14.
The proposals were described as “a dog’s breakfast” by the leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Pendle Council, Coun. Tony Greaves, who said that the Boundary Commission had paid no attention at all to the strong local view that Pendle should be kept together in any new constituency.
He said: “This new proposed seat of Pendle and Ribble Valley is almost exactly the same as the previous proposal. It’s just a dog’s breakfast – half of Pendle stuck on to half of Ribble Valley, with a seat stretching frrom Earby to the edge of Preston. It’s a nonsense.”
Coun. Greaves, who also sits in the House of Lords as Lord Greaves, said he thought that the current numbers in the House of Commons, where the Conservatives on their own do not have a majority, the proposals are likely to be sidelined.
He said: “There are too many Tories worried about what the review does to their own seats.”
“I do think that it’s a dead duck as well as a dog’s breakfast. It’s all being caused by David Cameron’s refusal to allow enough flexibility in the review to cater for sensible community links.”
People can go to the BCE’s website, www.bce2018.org.uk, to view the new plans we have published.
All the public comments received during the first two consultations are also published on the website.
People have until December 11th to have their say.