Packed Meeting Discusses Wimbledon Boundary Plans

Standing room only at boundary meeting

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A meeting to discuss the proposed shake-up of MPs' boundaries which is set to divide Wimbledon across two seats had to turn people away because so many turned up.

The Boundary Commission proposals move much of the existing Wimbledon constituency into a new seat, also covering New Malden.

But two wards in the current Wimbledon seat will be moved into a new Mitcham constituency, under the proposals published last month.

The overhaul could see England's 533 seats reduced to 502, with 90% of London constituencies being changed. The capital's 73 constituencies could be reduced to 68.

Their report said as Kingston was considered two small for two constituencies, it proposes taking seven Kingston wards and seven Merton wards and merging them into a new Wimbledon and New Malden constituency.

Meanwhile the current Wimbledon wards of Abbey and Trinity would be moved to a new Mitcham constituency, where they would be joined by Streatham South ward, alongside Mitcham wards.

The Abbey and Trinity wards cover much of Wimbledon town centre, including the New Wimbledon Theatre, the former Wimbledon Town Hall, the Centre Court Shopping Centre and Wimbledon station.

A new Putney constituency would incorporate its existing six wards of East Putney, Roehampton and Putney Heath, Southfields, Thamesfield, West Hill and West Putney plus Fairfield ward from the existing Battersea constituency and Wimbledon Park ward from the current Wimbledon seat.

Packed Meeting Discusses Wimbledon Boundary PlansThere has been some criticism about Wimbledon town centre being divided across two constituencies and local councillors organised the meeting on Monday (October 17) to discuss the proposals.

But so many people turned up at the Methodist church hall at the junction of Merton Road and Griffiths Road that some had to be turned away. The room had space for 140 people, but there wasn't enough room for everyone.

Trinity borough councillor Krystal Miller said: "Lots of local people had already contacted us to express their concern about the proposals to move Abbey and Trinity wards into the Mitcham constituency.

"The extraordinary attendance of over 140 people at a meeting last night confirmed this. The Boundary Commission has said it will look at any local ties that would be broken as a result of its proposals and residents certainly feel this is the case in Wimbledon."

Local resident Robert Giles, of Hamilton Road, said: "There was a clear conclusion that we don't want to move. Although we are part of the borough of Merton and Mitcham is in the borough, people feel they live in Wimbledon.

"If we want to stop this, people have to complain and we need to come up with alternatives."

He has come up with an alternative involving Abbey and Trinity wards staying in Wimbledon, while Lower Morden and St Helier wards would stay in Mitcham. But two Kingston wards would move into Sutton.

  • The Boundary Commission for England reviews Parliamentary constituency boundaries every five years.
  • In this review they were taking account of new rules that every constituency in England (except two covering the Isle of Wight) must have an electorate of between 72,810 and 80,473 - that is 5% either side of the electoral quota of 76,641. The new constituencies are likely to be the ones used for the next election which is currently expected to be in 2015.
  • They are consulting on their initial proposals for a 12-week period, from now until December 5. They are encouraging everyone to contribute to the design of the new constituencies.
  • There will also be public hearings to discuss the changes, with two in Wandsworth. The first hearing is on Monday, October 31 between 11am and 8pm. A second will be held the following day, Tuesday, November 1 from 9am to 5pm.
  • The consultation site contains reports and maps, the electorate sizes of every ward and an online facility where you can have your say on the initial proposals. You can also write directly to: Boundary Commission for England, 35 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BQ. Or email london@bcommengland.x.gsi.gov.uk.

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October 18, 2011