Articles

Wales

In News on October 10, 2016 by dadge

Under the terms of the current (“2018”) UK parliamentary boundary review, Wales will be entitled to 29 seats at Westminster. This report describes a possible new geography of those 29 constituencies, and should be read in conjunction with the official rules and data.

The best way to view the proposals is on the map above. Since it’s based on Google Maps, it can be zoomed in or out, you can move the map about, and you can choose between a normal map and a satellite view. Click on any seat (on the number on the map or on the list alongside) and its electorate and ward information will be displayed. The full list of seats is accessed by clicking the symbol in the top left of the map, and you can get a full-screen map by clicking the symbol in the top right. An explanatory guide to the proposed seats can be found further down this page.

If you’d like to make an informal comment about any of the seats, please click on “Leave a comment” at the bottom of this page. If you’d like to make an official response to the boundary commission, about this plan or about your own ideas, email bcomm.wales@wales.gsi.gov.uk before 5/12/16.

For convenience, the country is divided into five areas:
North (7 seats)
Mid (5 seats)
South Central (8 seats)
Cardiff (3 seats)
South East (6 seats)

North Wales

The north of the country (the former counties of Gwynedd and Clwyd) has an entitlement to 6.66 seats. This can, and should, be rounded up to 7 seats, but it’s very difficult to make 7 suitable seats above the minimum size (71031 voters). Therefore a small part of Powys really needs to be added. It may be somewhat unpopular in Machynlleth to add it into a Gwynedd seat, but the town is clearly well connected with the areas to the north. The same cannot be said of the area around Llanrhaeadr-yn-Mochnant, which has very poor communications with Clwyd. Therefore the 3927 voters of the 3 wards around Machynlleth are included in the new Eryri seat. This also prevents the Eryri seat from needing to spread all the way across to Denbigh or Llangollen.

The Conwy valley is divided along the river between the Eryri seat and the Conwy seat, with the west (Caernarfonshire) side in the Eryri seat.

Anglesey doesn’t have enough voters for a seat on its own, so an area around Bangor is added, roughly equivalent ot the old Ogwen rural district.

In north east Wales, a good option might perhaps be to have a Rhyl/Flint seat and a Denbigh/Llangollen seat, but now that the lower limit is 71,000 there aren’t enough voters in the latter area for it to form a seat on its own. Therefore this plan includes a Rhyl/Denbigh seat and a Mold/Llangollen seat. The only direct route between the two parts of the latter constituency is via the A542 (Horseshoe Pass) but the two areas are not remote from one another and are capable of forming an effective unit.

Mid Wales

This region comprises the Powys, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire council areas, with a combined entitlement of 4.93 seats (or 5.09 after the transfer of the Machynlleth and Swansea Valley areas). The Swansea Valley (16,391 voters) is included in this area because of the links with the villages further up the Tawe.

Powys is too big for one seat, even without Machynlleth, so the Brecon and Tawe valley areas are included in a Camarthenshire seat. (A cross-border seat with Ceredigion would have the Cambrian mountains in between.) The resulting Powys seat is broadly satisfactory in that it keeps all the main Marcher areas together.

To bring them both up to size, the Ceredigion seat includes north Pembrokeshire and the area around Newcastle Emlyn, and the Pembroke seat includes the area around St Clears.

The division of the remaining area of Breconshire and Camarthenshire is open to debate; the decision has been taken to put Camarthen with Llanelli rather than with Brecon, Ystradgynlais and Pontardawe, but either is possible.

South Central

The entitlement for this area (Bridgend, Vale, RCT, Neath, Swansea) is 8.37. With an electorate of that size it’s not possible to construct 8 seats in quota, so the Swansea Valley is included in the Mid Wales region.

Clearly, South Wales is difficult to redistrict because of the way population is distributed below the high ridges. Four factors have come into play: council boundaries; communications; communities, plus considering which communities belong together or can be in different seats. Decisions which have affected the seats in the west and east of the area respectively are that the Gower seat should be as rural as possible, and that the Llantrisant/Llantwit Fardre area should be kept together.

Information on some areas included by seats:
Gower: Sketty, Gorseinon
Swansea: Fforest-fach, Clydach, Port Tennant
Neath: Llansamlet, Baglan, Cwmafan, Glyncorrwg
Ogmore & Aberavon: Pyle, Tondu, Tonyrefail
Bridgend: Porthcawl, Sarn, Pencoed, Llantwit Major
Barry: Cowbridge
Pontypridd: Llantrisant, Mountain Ash

Cardiff

Handily Cardiff (entitlement 3.03) is just the right size for 3 seats, and handier still the area weat of the Taf is the right size for one seat. The rest of the city can be divided (more or less along the A48) into a North seat and a Centre/Rumney seat (called Cardiff East).

South East

The entitlement of this area (Monmouth, Newport, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly) is 6.02 seats. Some of the outer parts of the Newport city council area (electorate 100,931) are included in neighbouring seats.

Information on some areas included by seats:
Merthyr & Rhymney: Gelligaer
Blaenau Gwent: Abercarn, Risca
Caerphilly: Blackwood, Duffryn
Newport: Rogerstone
Torfaen: Bettws, Malpas
Monmouth: Caerleon, Llanwern

Articles

Scotland

In News on October 7, 2016 by dadge

 

Under the terms of the current (“2018”) UK parliamentary boundary review, Scotland will be entitled to 53 seats at Westminster. This report describes the possible new geography of those 53 constituencies, and should be read in conjunction with the official rules and data.

The best way to view the proposals is on the map above. Since it’s based on Google Maps, it can be zoomed in or out, you can move the map about, and you can choose between a normal map and a satellite view. Click on any seat (on the number on the map or on the list alongside) and its electorate and ward information will be displayed. The full list of seats is accessed by clicking the symbol in the top left of the map, and you can get a full-screen map by clicking the symbol in the top right. An explanatory guide to the proposed seats can be found further down this page.

If you’d like to make an informal comment about any of the seats, please click on “Leave a comment” at the bottom of this page. If you’d like to make an official response to the boundary commission, about this plan or about your own ideas, email bcs@scottishboundaries.gov.uk before the end of 2016.

This report is broken down by area as follows:

Highlands and Islands – 6 seats
North East – 7 seats
Perth & Fife – 5 seats
North Central – 5 seats
South Central – 8 seats
Edinburgh and South – 9 seats
South West – 7 seats
Glasgow – 6 seats

The exact entitlements for various areas are shown on this map. In theory the Central area “owes” the Edinburgh/South area a ward, but the judgment call has been made that crossing the boundary for the sake of a few thousand voters would be too disruptive to the overall pattern of seats.

Highlands and Islands

Orkney & Shetland 33229
Na h-Eileanan an Iar 20887
Highlands North 77938
Highlands South 76334
Argyll & Bute 73889
Moray 78294*

As well as the island seats with protected status, namely Orkney & Shetland and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, this area includes the Highland, Moray and Argyll & Bute council areas. There is a legal limit on the geographical size of the seats in this area, and probably the best way to keep the seats within that limit is to divide Inverness between the two Highland seats, and include Badenoch & Strathspey in the Moray seat. Note that Lochaber is now split between the Argyll and Inverness-shire seats. If it’s felt that Caol should be in the same seat as Fort William, it can be added to the Argyll seat.

Names: if possible it would be good to come up with properly representative names for the two Highland seats that are not too cumbersome.

Unfortunately since the Moray seat would be illegally large (in terms of electorate) otherwise, it’s necessary to include a small area – Rothiemay and Grange, near Keith – in the Gordon seat. Although it’s possible to arrange the seats north and east of Aberdeen without dividing a ward (see here), this would create a 3-district seat stretching from Aberdeen to Kingussie.

North East

Banff & Buchan 77582
Gordon 74328*
Aberdeen North 78274
Aberdeen South 71961
Montrose 76952
Forfar 77988
Dundee 76317

Dundee is too large for one seat, and the Broughty Ferry and Fintry areas are included in the Forfar seat. The Montrose seat includes Arbroath and Stonehaven. Aberdeen City is just the right size for two seats.

Perth & Fife

Perth 72831
South Tay (North Fife & Strathearn) 75957
Glenrothes & Kinross 75077
Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath 73323
Dunfermline 78254

Although the North Fife-South Perthshire seat is something of a novelty, at this review it’s the only elegant solution, given the relative sizes of the two council areas. Also, Kinross has been paired with Glenrothes, but if it’s preferred, Kinross can be included in the South Tay seat in exchange for the East Neuk going into the Glenrothes seat.

North Central

West Dunbartonshire 77006
East Dunbartonshire 71846
Clackmannan & Stirling North 74113
Stirling South 77238
Falkirk 74092

This area corresponds approximately to the old counties of Stirlingshire and Dunbartonshire. The two current Dunbartonshire districts are entitled to two seats between them, but Milngavie needs to be in the West seat because of the numbers. This leaves the East seat as rather an odd shape, but that is of little consequence.

Stirling is split between a mainly north-of-the-river seat including Clackmannan and the Trossachs, and a southside seat going down to the small towns north of Falkirk. It is possible to have seat that includes all of Stirling, but that would mean the neighbouring seat would be slightly odd, combining Clackmannan with Denny and Stenhousemuir across the Kincardine bridges.

The Stirling South seat also includes Kilsyth. It’s a compact seat with good communications, but it is a three-council seat. The pattern of constituencies in the region is not as good if Kilsyth is removed and replaced with Grangemouth, but a possible arrangement can be seen here. (n.b. That map does not show the ward splits that would be required around Banknock, Bonnybridge and Wishaw.)

South Central

Cumbernauld & Airdrie 78098*
Coatbridge 73831
Livingston 74223
Strathalmond (Bathgate & Shotts) 74061*
Motherwell 78266*
Lanark 78248*
Hamilton 77592
East Kilbride & Rutherglen 77860*

This is a complex region covering the Lanarkshire and West Lothian council areas (except for Kilsyth). Every effort has been made not to split towns between constituencies, and this plan is successful when judged by that standard. Cumbernauld, Airdrie, Motherwell, Wishaw, Hamilton, East Kilbride and Livingston are not split between seats, except for a very small part of East Kilbride in the Lanark seat. One disadvantage of the plan is that Rutherglen is separated from Cambuslang.

There’s a new “Strathalmond” seat (Bathgate & Shotts) formed by the area between the main towns.

Edinburgh & South

Dumfries & Galloway 76394*
Roxburgh, Selkirk & Annandale (Borders South) 72456*
East Lothian 76153
Berwickshire & Peebles (Borders North) 71570
Midlothian 72173*
Edinburgh East 72944*
Leith & Queensferry 74438*
Edinburgh South (Pentlands) 75334
Edinburgh West 77294*

The decision has been taken to include Dumfries and Galloway council area in this region rather than with Ayrshire because the pattern of seats in the whole south of the country is better for it.

Lochar ward is split so that the whole of Dumfries town is in the Dumfries seat. The east Dumfries-shire area is in a new “South Borders” seat, alternatively called Roxburgh, Ettrick & Annandale. Although there is no motorway from Lockerbie to Jedburgh, there is a community of interest across the Teviothead.

The North Borders (Berwickshire & Peebles) seat is too small without part of Midlothian. The simplest arrangement is to add Penicuik and Loanhead. This side of Midlothian probably has more in common with Peebles than the other side of Midlothian (Dalkeith) has with Galashiels.

Edinburgh is entitled to 4.36 seats. There are three solutions to this problem. One is joining Edinburgh to East Lothian, but East Lothian is exactly the right size for a seat by itself. Another solution might be adding the Queensferry area to the Livingston seat, but there’s no room – so to do so would require rejigging a lot of constituencies. Finally, there is the possibility of crossing the Midlothian boundary. Liberton and Dalkeith make a reasonable combination. The main problem really is that in order to make up the numbers in the Midlothian seat, some of the Craigmillar ward also needs to be added.

Although the pattern of wards in Edinburgh could be ignored, the suggested plan is an attempt to suggest a simple arrangement of seats based mainly on ward boundaries. There’s just one split ward (Leith Walk) in addition to the one mentioned already. All of Leith is in one coastal seat with Queensferry.

South West

South Renfrewshire 77180
Paisley 77920*
Inverclyde (North Renfrewshire) 75885*
North Cunninghame 76827
South Cunninghame (Irvine) 72365
Kilmarnock & Cumnock 71824
Ayr 73853

This area comprises the six Ayrshire and Renfrewshire council areas. The South and North Cunninghame seats include part of Kyle and Inverclyde respectively. It is possible to form a North Cunninghame seat with Johnstone instead of Gourock (see here) but Johnstone and Arran would make slightly odd bedfellows.

East Renfrewshire council area is slightly too small for a seat by itself. This could be resolved by adding a chunk of Paisley, but the more elegant solution is probably the one chosen: swap Johnstone and Barrhead between the two seats. The Paisley seat thus formed would be slightly over quota – this can be solved by removing part of Renfrew, or, preferably, by adding the Ferguslie Park area (which has good connections to Linwood) to the North Renfrewshire seat.

Glasgow

Glasgow Craigton 73347*
Glasgow Cathcart 74012*
Glasgow Scotstoun 71996*
Glasgow Bridgeton 76415*
Glasgow Maryhill 74218*
Glasgow Provan 76365*

Glasgow is entitled to slightly under six seats, but there is no pressing need for a city seat to include part of a neighbouring district. As with Edinburgh, ward boundaries could be ignored, but in most parts of the city they work well as constituency boundaries, and the latter can be tweaked further if necessary.

There are three split wards: Craigton includes Kennishead from Newlands/Auldburn, Provan includes Royston from Springburn ward, and Scotstoun includes Kelvinhaugh from the Anderston ward.

Data table

A spreadsheet of the proposals can be downloaded here.


Note: an asterisk (*) next to an electorate total means that the seat includes both whole and part wards, and although the total is reasonably accurate based on the data currently available, it will be revised later as exact data comes online. Names in brackets are possible alternate names for constituencies. Locus gratefully acknowledges the invaluable help received from the Plan Builder online tool and the experts of the Vote UK forum.

The work of the author is copyright of the author. (c) Adrian Bailey 2016

Articles

2018 Review: Northern Ireland

In News on September 5, 2016 by dadge Tagged:

The parliamentary boundary review gets under way in earnest this week with the publication of the Northern Ireland commission‘s proposals for 17 new seats. The main issue continues to be whether Belfast gets three seats or four. This plan is for three seats wholly within the city’s borders:

Fermanagh & South Tyrone 72283
East Londonderry 73169
Foyle 73934
Keenaght & West Tyrone 75337
North Antrim 77141
Mid Antrim 77671
South Antrim 70000
Belfast North 70215
Belfast South 70266
Belfast East 72001
Strangford 76871
Ards 70529
Lisburn 75087
Craigavon 74668
South Down 69420
Newry 72168
Armagh & East Tyrone 72609

Articles

Local government in Hampshire

In local authorities, News on August 8, 2016 by dadge

A consultation is underway on the future of local government in the Hampshire county area. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, the proposals that have been put forward for consideration are a real dog’s dinner, with huge and strangely named districts. It’s clear from just how bad the options are that the prime motivation for any change is not improving democracy (Ha!) but saving money. Of course saving money is a good idea, but quite a lot of money can be saved by introducing a sensible system of unitary authorities – it’s quite insulting to treat people as unworthy of LOCAL government.

Here’s my proposals for unitary authorities:

Hants

1. Southampton 245,000
2. Portsmouth 210,000
3. New Forest 177,000
4. Fareham & Gosport 195,000
5. Havant & East Hants 240,000
6. Winchester & Eastleigh & Test Valley 370,000
7. Basingstoke & Hart & Rushmoor 360,000

If preferred, districts 6 and 7 could be divided in two.

Thinking outside the box, why not give consideration to a combined Christchurch & New Forest authority?

Articles

2018 Review: Central Scotland

In News on July 30, 2016 by dadge Tagged: ,

scotc

West Dunbartonshire 77006
East Dunbartonshire 71846
Clackmannan & Stirling North 74113
Grangemouth & Stirling South 71812*
Cumbernauld 72889* (includes Banknock (PDs 325 & 330) 2693 voters, and Bonnybridge (PDs 520 525 530) 5900 voters)
Monklands 77228
Falkirk & Linlithgow 73544
Livingston 78053
Wishaw & Whitburn 78424*
Motherwell 77859*
Lanark 77404* (includes Ferniegair)
Hamilton 78305* (includes Burnside)
East Kilbride & Rutherglen 77991*

Glasgow Craigton 73347* (includes Kennishead)
Glasgow Cathcart 74012*
Glasgow Scotstoun 71996* (includes Kelvinhaugh)
Glasgow Bridgeton 76415*
Glasgow Maryhill 74218*
Glasgow Provan 76365* (includes Royston)

Articles

2018 Review: South Scotland

In News on July 30, 2016 by dadge Tagged: ,

South Renfrewshire 77180
Paisley 77920*
Inverclyde 75885* (includes NP06 Ferguslie Park 2380)
North Cunninghame 76827
South Cunninghame 72365
Kilmarnock & Cumnock 71824
Ayr 73853

scots

Dumfries & Galloway 76394* (includes East Dumfries part of Lochar ward 09A2/B2/H3 3192)
Roxburgh, Selkirk & Annandale 72456*
East Lothian 76153
Berwick & Peebles 71570
Midlothian 73173* (includes Craigmillar)
Edinburgh East 71944*
Leith & Queensferry 77438*
Edinburgh South 75334
Edinburgh West 74294* (includes Hillside)

edin plan

Articles

2018 Review: North Scotland

In News on July 29, 2016 by dadge Tagged:

scotn

Caithness, Sutherland & Cromarty 77938
Ross, Skye & Inverness 76334
Argyll & Bute 73889
Banff & Buchan 77582
Moray 78294*
Gordon 74328* (includes Rothiemay and Grange)
Aberdeen North 78274
Aberdeen South 71961
Montrose 76952
Forfar 77988
Dundee 76317
Perth 72831
South Tay 75957
Glenrothes & Kinross 75077
Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath 73323
Dunfermline 78254

* estimate

scotm

 

Edit: Alternative arrangement for North East Scotland

scotlandne

Elgin & Banff 78389

Buchan & Formartine 73634

Marr 78181