Councillors unanimously oppose boundary changes

Pendle Hill
Pendle Hill

Pendle Council has voted unanimously to reject proposed changes to the parliamentary constituency boundaries.

And now residents have just a few days left to make their feelings known.

In a bid to have parliamentary constituencies of the same number of voters, the Boundaries Commission has suggested that the current Pendle seat actually diappears.

The Nelson, Brierfield and Reedley end of the current constituency would disappear into a redefined Burnley seat while Colne, Trawden, Barnoldswick, Earby, Barrowford and Pendleside would form part of a new constituency labelled Clitheroe and Colne.

When the propsoed changes came to light in September, politicians of all parties slammed them.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, who faces the prospect of either standing in Burnley against sitting Labour MP Julie Cooper or entering a two-way fight with Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans for the Tory nomination for the new Clitheroe and Colne seat has pledged to fight the proposed changes, wishing instead that Pendle stay as a whole with neighbouring Cliviger and Worsthorne added to it.

He said: “Splitting Pendle has no real gain, it is needlessly radical. Nelson and Colne have always been together. The Boundary Commission should try to work with the status quo, and not create colourful lines on a map that have no relevance to local people.”

Lord Tony Greaves, deputy leader of Pendle Council, said on behalf of the Lib Dems: “The proposed new constituency of Clitheroe and Colne is an utterly stupid proposal.

“You could only think that it has been designed as a safe Conservative seat to provide an easy ride for life for Mr Stephenson”

And Burnley MP Julie Cooper described the proposals as “fundamentally flawed”.

At a recent council meeting councillors unanimously agreed that they would reject the proposals and would put forward an alternative.

In doing so it acknowledged that under the new legal rules on size of constituencies the existing Pendle constituency is too small.

Philip Mousdale, Pendle Council’s Corporate Director, explained that Pendle is a close and cohesive community of towns and villages which has been forged since local government reorganisation in 1974.

He said: “The Council believes that the best interests of people in Pendle would be met by keeping the whole of the present parliamentary constituency (and the local authority area) within one new enlarged parliamentary constituency.

“In particular, we’ve rejected the proposed Clitheroe and Colne constituency because of its long and narrow geographical shape and the lack of common interests of the communities at the opposite ends of the proposed area.

“We believe that this proposal will receive widespread opposition, not just from within Pendle.”

The Council has looked at options which would bring in wards from the neighbouring areas of Ribble Valley and Burnley and identified three proposals.

One would see the town of Clitheroe and some surrounding villages merged with Pendle and the other two would see adjoining Burnley wards moved into a new Pendle seat.

These have now been submitted to the Boundary Commission for consideration. All three proposals carry the same weight and the Council doesn’t prefer one over the others.

The Boundary Commission’s proposal for Pendle can be viewed on its website at
The deadline for comments is Monday.