by Roger Harmer on 4 December, 2017
The Boundary Commission are reviewing parliamentary boundaries to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 and to equalise the number of electors in each constituency. Their proposals for Yardley (currently including the Birmingham wards of Acocks Green, South Yardley, Yardley North and Stechford & Sheldon) are for radical changes. These were discussed recently at a meeting of the Acocks Green Focus Group. Their blog post, from which the rest of this post is copied (with a few minor corrections), can be read here
“If these the new proposals go through, these changes will take place in 2022. Historic old Yardley would not be in Yardley anymore – not more old Yardley. No more St Edburgha’s: that would be in Hodge Hill. Meanwhile Yardley would be an area which would stretch all the way from Selfridges in the centre of Birmingham to Birmingham Airport out in Solihull? Live in Nechells? Live in Lyndon Green? It would all be in the new Yardley. What would not be in Yardley anymore is Acocks Green. That would be in Hall Green. Confused? How easy would it be to travel to see your MP? For a lot of people that would be quite difficult, involving more than one bus.
What other differences would that make to you? Where do you go if you have a problem? We had a meeting for community activists and all three main political parties. People came and shared their concerns, talking frankly and openly regardless of which party they were in, or if they were in no party. This is a common project to help keep Yardley safe!
We made a list of all the things which are bothering us. You might want to see your MP. You might talk to a councillor. You might even talk to someone who is not an MP or a councillor, but who is campaigning to be one and wants to build a reputation in the area by helping people out. Think about it: Labour is the party in Yardley with the MP at the moment, BUT Yardley has councillors from the Labour and Lib-Dem Parties and in the past twenty-five years all three political parties have held this famous switch constituency. All three parties knock on doors, make phone calls to see people are OK and do ‘case work’. It is often the local politicians who know whose disabled access is being blocked; where a children’s swing needs mending; where illegal fly-tipping is going on. If a whole area is shifted out of kilter like this then a lot of this case work is going to get lost and confused. And Acocks Green tends to be the area in Yardley where most party members (all parties) are the most busy helping, organising and supporting. It is the area in fact where the current MPs office is based.
More than this some organisations, like The Police, are structured to operate across the existing constituency. Some grants are given out on a constituency basis. Different parts of the area do not have very good travel routes between them, and part of the proposed constituency is even divided by a river with only a few bridges!
Perhaps most worryingly of all: the new reorgnisation would bring a very high level of social need into the area, with fewer councillors under the 2018 re-organisation to help, fewer local activists and an MP’s office having to look after more people travelling further distances to see her (or him).
What Can I Do Though?
If you are concerned about this plan you can take action. The Boundary commission has to listen to all comments and in 2016 they accepted the critical comments about the proposed new boundaries for Acocks Green ward and changed them completely. You can review the Boundary Commission’s plans here Even if this plan is dropped it is likely that sooner or later there will be some reorgnisation and then the boundary commission will still read your comments before they start to draw up new proposals. However, you only have until the 11th December to respond. Please comment in “Have your say.” here.”Leave a comment