Articles

2018 Review: Durham

In boundary changes, North East, redistricting on December 11, 2017 by dadge

For some reason the Commission has decided that the Northumberland border is sacrosanct, even though (a) it’s played fast and loose with county boundaries elsewhere in the country, and (b) doing so produces an unsatisfactory boundary in the Ashington/Bedlington area. Local factors, especially the fact that the Tyne & Wear county boundary is long gone and there are good ties across the border with the neighbouring local authorities, should come into play.

Perhaps the main irony of the Commission’s decision regarding Northumberland is that it has caused them to create a seat (Blaydon) with an orphan ward (Burnopfield) in County Durham, and it’s not clear why a sensible crossing of the Northumberland border would be worse than this rather pathetic crossing of the Durham border. What’s worse, the removal of the Burnopfield ward has unfortunate knock-on effects, in particular the loss of the Framwellgate ward from the Durham city seat. Newton Hall is an integral part of the city. (The fact that the Commission thinks this loss is acceptable demonstrates how it sets too much store by physical characteristics, ignoring administrative, socio-economic and historical factors.) Current boundaries of Durham city (from ordnancesurvey.co.uk/election-maps/):

bce durham

Therefore the main purpose of this counter-proposal is to put the Framwellgate Moor area back into the Durham city seat, and Burnopfield back into a Durham county seat.

BLAYDON

The minimum-change option (with regard to the Revised Proposals), i.e. without needing to cross the Northumberland border, for eliminating the orphan ward is probably as follows:

bce blaydon

Blaydon 76,652

Gateshead West 71,415

Gateshead East 73,497

If the Northumberland border is crossed, the least disruptive option is to include Prudhoe in the Blaydon seat:

bce newc v2

Blaydon 71,402

Newcastle Central 76,027

Newcastle North 74,691

Hexham 77,442

Blyth & Wansbeck 73,869

Berwick & Morpeth 73,286

For boundaries around Morpeth and Cramlington, see my original submission.

Speaking of which, I still think my Hexham & Blaydon and Castle Ward seats are a better arrangement than the Commission’s Blaydon & Newburn and Hexham & Cramlington seats, but either of the above plans is a reasonable compromise.

DURHAM

Now that the Burnopfield ward is no longer being kidnapped, the County Durham seats can be slightly rejigged to allow all of Durham city to be united in one seat:

bce durham rev

North Durham 77,212

North West Durham 74,536

Bishop Auckland 75,434

Sedgefield & Billingham 76,459

Durham & Easington 77,766

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