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

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