Warning over ‘Fenland split’ boundary plan

Councillors are being urged to oppose proposals to split the North East Cambridgeshire constituency of MP Stephen Barclay
Councillors are being urged to oppose proposals to split the North East Cambridgeshire constituency of MP Stephen Barclay

Boundary reforms which could see Fenland split into two Parliamentary seats could damage the district’s community links, council officials have warned.

Consultations on plans to reduce the number of MPs in the House of Commons by 50 to 600 are ongoing.

The current plans by the Boundary Commission for England would see Fenland wholly contained within the North East Cambridgeshire constituency, as it is now.

However, a report published ahead of Fenland Council’s meeting tomorrow says an alternative proposal has been submitted which, if implemented, could see wards in the Chatteris, Doddington and Wimblington areas moved into the neighbouring North West Cambridgeshire seat instead.

Members are being urged to lobby the commission to reject that proposal.

A report to the meeting said: “It is the view of elected members that the whole of Fenland District should be represented by one MP to ensure the key issues are understood and addressed in a consistent manner.

“Chatteris, Wimblington and Doddington have been an integral part of Fenland district since its inception in 1974.

“Whilst we appreciate that is not in question, what that does emphasise is the strong, consistent and stable sense of community has existed for a generation.

“It is therefore the strong belief that the proposal to split these communities into the North West Cambridgeshire constituency, whilst the remainder of Fenland will be part of North East Cambridgeshire, would break and fracture those strong community ties which have existed successfully for so long.”

The latest round of consultations ends next Monday, March 27. After that, a further report, setting out any revisions that may be sought to the original proposals, will be published.