Articles

2018 Review: Brighton and Newhaven

In boundary changes, redistricting, South East, Sussex on December 10, 2017 by dadge

In the revised proposals, the knock-on effect of Brighton’s large ward sizes is causing a harmful split in Newhaven, with one third of the town (the Valley ward) included in the Lewes seat.

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Although Sussex can be dealt with generally without split wards, Brighton is a special case. The wards are very large such that creating a Brighton Pavilion seat relies on luck. (Excluding the two-councillor ward (Woodingdean) there are 101,106 electors between 10 wards, an average of 10,111. Now notice that 7×10,111=70,777 and 8×10,111=80,888, both of which totals are outside the permitted range.) That luck has allowed the formation of a seat (Pavilion) that scrapes over the bottom end of the permitted range, but when a seat scrapes over the line in this way it naturally pushes an excess of voters into the neighbouring seat. This is what has happened in the case of Kemptown & Seahaven.

What to do in such a case? One could, rather unreasonably, expect the responsibility for solving the problem to fall on the neighbouring seat, even though it’s not its wards that are the cause of the problem. This is what the Commission have done by looking for a solution in Newhaven. The two suggested solutions: splitting the Denton & Meeching ward, or the loss of the whole Valley ward to Lewes, are both very bad.

Instead, and much more reasonably, we can look to Brighton. On the border between the Kemptown and Pavilion seats is Hanover. Until 2010 all of Hanover was in the Pavilion seat, but some of it is now in the Kemptown seat. (This was caused by the moving of the constituency boundary to the new ward boundary.) This area (polling districts EY and EZ, the area around Windmill Street) can be returned to the Pavilion seat, providing a reasonable solution to the problem.

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Brighton Pavilion 71527 + EY 1238 + EZ 745 = 73510

Brighton Kemptown & Seahaven 76167 + Newhaven Valley 2554 – EY 1238 – EZ 745 = 76738

Lewes 77696 – Newhaven Valley 2554 = 75142

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