Archive for the ‘Derbyshire’ Category


Everything Derby

In boundary changes,Derbyshire,East Midlands on October 29, 2011 by dadge

Here’s the Commission’s and the three main parties’ proposals for Derby, plus the current and pre-2010 arrangements

I’m still not sure what my final counterproposal for Derby will be. Although the Labour and Tory politicians want a north-south split because that’s what they’re used to, it looks to me from the modern geography of the city that an east-west split would be better. Therefore if I had to choose from just the four plans shown here, I’d go for the Commission’s. And I bet you never thought you’d hear me say that!

Boundary Commission
Derby West 73,846
Derby East 80,417
Derby South & Swadlincote 79,717

Conservative Party
Derby North 73,941
Derby South 80,322
South Derbyshire 79,717

Labour Party
Derby North 76,277
Derby South 77,324
Derby West & Belper 80,250

Liberal Democrats
Derby West 73,661
Derby East 77,324
Mid Derbyshire 76,026

What’s your opinion? Let me know in the comments or by email. Or email the Boundary Commission.



East Midlands – Labour counterproposals

In boundary changes,Derbyshire,East Midlands,Labour,Leicestershire,Nottinghamshire on October 29, 2011 by dadge

I’ve done my best to construct a map based on the notes I took on Thursday, but it’s possible there may be mistakes, so don’t take this as gospel. I haven’t included Lincolnshire or Northamptonshire because Labour accepts the Commission’s proposals for those two counties in full.

Most of the plan is quite reasonable, but it’s too radical, so I think we have to write it off as an academic exercise. I assume the arrangements for Derby amount to some sort of gerrymander (on Thursday a Labour councillor spoke about “keeping similar kinds of wards together” which set alarm bells ringing) but others will be better placed than me to check on that.

Constituency Electorate
Ashby & Swadlincote 76740
Rutland & Melton 75499
Nottm W & Beeston 76449
Ilkeston 73939
Ashfield 77049
Mansfield 79849
High Peak 73691
Derbyshire Dales & Dronfield 79430
Chesterfield 76386
Bolsover & NE Derbys 76305
Alfreton & Shirebrook 73831
Derby W & Belper 80250
Nottingham N 75782
Rushcliffe 73430
Erewash Valley 73055
Derby S 77324
Nottingham E 73743
Derby N 76277
Gedling 74203
Sherwood 76674
Newark 74178
Bassetlaw 76535
Coalville & Bosworth 79982
Leicester W 78088
Leicester E 74377
Harborough 80260
Loughborough 75847
Leicester S 78433
Hinckley & Blaby 79242
Charnwood 78555

Proposals spreadsheet

Larger scale maps: north  south



Derby hearing report

In boundary changes,Derbyshire,East Midlands,News,Nottinghamshire on October 29, 2011 by dadge

On Thursday and Friday the lead hearing for the East Midlands region took place in Derby. The Assistant Commissioner (AC), Douglas Edwards, seems a nice chap, though it must come as a shock, even to an experienced professional like him, to suddenly be overcome, at 10.15 a.m. on a wet Thursday morning, by a tidal wave of maps, data and placenames. Just as I was about to leave I met Charles Pattie, the electoral geographer from Sheffield, and I can’t help wondering why the Commission doesn’t employ geographers, rather than lawyers, to run these hearings.

The AC pointed out that the purpose of the hearings was not to engage in a debate on the Commission’s proposals. This is true, but why not? It does seem odd that anyone can go and criticise the proposals, but no-one from the Commission will answer back or attempt any justification for what they’ve done. Bizarre. The secretary to the Commission, Simon James, made the telling remark that “the only criterion is meeting the statutory electoral range.” I hadn’t heard this admission before, and it explains a lot.

Greg Cook presents Labour's proposals

Labour were first at the rostrum; their presentation was delivered, with a notable absence of maps, by their political strategist Greg Cook. Now call me suspicious, but I assume that no maps = crazy shit ahoy, and Labour’s proposals were certainly the most radical on offer. Instead of two cross-border seats, Greg mooted three, with Coalville-Keyworth being replaced by Swad-Ashby and Long Eaton-Stapleford. He’s certainly right that those pairings look logical, but forcing Derbyshire to share two seats with other counties probably wouldn’t go down too well. (I don’t think he’s right to describe the Erewash border as “poorly defined” though I know what he means.) The devil is in the detail, as they say, and when you see how Labour are splitting Broxtowe up you’ll appreciate that their idea was better in theory than in practice. Another Labour gem to look out for is Derbyshire Dales and Dronfield.

Labour’s plans for Derby involve what I call “leeching” – they’re roping in Ockbrook and Aston to make the numbers up for their North and South Derby seats. MP Chris Williamson spoke later in support of this plan.

Next up were the Lib Dems, in the shape of CEO Chris Fox. Nice big colourful maps up on the screen this time, showing us another radical alternative: they’ve gone for the Melton-Bingham and Rutland-Corby cross-border seats that I went for! GMTA?

Chris made big play of the fact that he got the local associations to draw up the plans for their areas, and I think the Nottinghamshire plan is very good. The Derbyshire plan I’m not so keen on – I’m sure it makes sense, but I can’t see the Commission going with the Greater-Derby-style seats or the A61 eel (which stretches from Bolsover to Holbrook) or the Mid-Derbyshire amoeba. He described North East Derbyshire district as “artificial” and said it should be eliminated. He has a point there – I’m not sure it’s even possible to get from the north to the south of the district without going through Chesterfield, but I remember plans to split it at the last Review getting short shrift.

Time for a stolen coffee (Everyone was drinking the free coffee in the lobby until the Conference Centre let us know, through the AC, that it wasn’t for us!) and then the veteran Roger Pratt presented the Tory counter-proposals. One thing you can be certain of with Roger, that you can’t say with certainty of the other two parties, is that He Knows What He’s Doing. And what he did this time was congratulate the Boundary Commission on their plans and just tweak them here and there.

I think there’s an important message to bear in mind here, which is that the terms of this Review, and the revised Policies of the Commission, are very beneficial to the Tory party, and they know that if the Initial Proposals just go through “as is” the champagne corks will be popping on Millbank.

Roger’s presentation contained much wisdom, with regard to things like coterminousness, constituency names, and the reuse of previous boundaries, but his praise for the Commission’s plans for Nottinghamshire was disingenuous to say the least. He even wheeled a lady out to tell us how wonderful she thought it was that Rushcliffe was going to be smashed to pieces and her village of Gotham was going to be appended to Broxtowe. To use the local idiom, there’s summat up there.

The last presentation before lunch was by Robert Howard, a localist who had prepared the current Nottingham wards. He took us on a virtual bus tour of the city in order to explain how it should be divided between constituencies, and, looking at his report, I notice he’s squeezed Nottinghamshire into 10 seats, so I’m not sure what the Commission would do with Northamptonshire.

In my presentation I concentrated on Derby (arguing that no-one should be scared of splitting a ward), Nottinghamshire (far and away the worst part of the Commission’s proposals) and Leicestershire (the knock-on effects of removing Melton rather than Coalville).

The best turn was Sam Boote, a LibDem from Rushcliffe, who held up the map of the proposed constituency of Coalville and Keyworth (pdf) and proceeded to take the piss out of it for the next ten minutes. Bravo, sir!

Quote of the day: “This isn’t a numbers game though in the end it comes down to numbers.” Chris Fox


You’ll see the ominous word “wards” on the screen in the photo. Labour continue to be apologists for the Commission’s policy of not splitting wards, even though it’s bound to cost them several seats at the next election. Greg’s excuses were: (a) precedent; (b) polling district data is inaccessible; (c) the process would be complicated further; (d) participation would be reduced. To which I say (a) plenty of other precedents have been broken at this review; (b) I’ve done very well so far in finding PD data online, and if I can do it, so can the Boundary Commission! (c) a fair point, but the people of England are worth it; (d) nonsense.

Greg’s point about participation referred in the main to party activists, who he said would be put off if the ward they lived or volunteered in was split. This is debatable, and anyway, are we really going to spoil the whole process for the sake of a couple of hundred party workers who live in the three dozen wards that would be affected? And participation in the whole review process would be much improved if people weren’t strait-jacketed by the pressure not to split wards. As it is, in several cities people are faced with something of a fait accompli – options are very limited, and what options there are are equally ridiculous.


Derbyshire version 2

In Derbyshire,East Midlands,redistricting on October 25, 2011 by dadge

This counter-proposal accepts the Commission’s South Derbyshire seat but gets Alfreton back into Amber Valley. In exchange, Crich is added to the Bolsover seat and the moors around Longshaw are added to the NE Derbyshire seat.

I’ve created better North/South Derby seats either by splitting Sinfin, giving: Derby North 76,642; Derby South 77,639

or by splitting Arboretum, giving Derby North 74,131; Derby South 80,132.

In addition, you could swap the Mackworth and Alvaston wards between the two seats, using the Arboretum split.

Other electorates:
South Derbyshire 79,717
West Derbyshire 79,182
Erewash 79,716
Amber Valley 78,491
High Peak 76,620
Chesterfield 76,386
North East Derbyshire 75,063
Bolsover 75,997


Derbyshire version 1

In Derbyshire,East Midlands,redistricting on October 25, 2011 by dadge

The problems with the Commission’s plan for Derbyshire aren’t huge, and trying to address them is a bit of a headache, but I’ve had a go.

1. The Hathersage ward seems an odd choice to add to High Peak. I think the Tideswell and Taddington wards are a better option.

2. The Ironville ward is part of Alfreton and shouldn’t be put in a different seat. Adding it requires some changes in the north east of the county, e.g. adding Renishaw to Bolsover.

The other problem is that Chesterfield district is 500 voters over the limit. I don’t like doing it, but the most convenient way to balance the numbers is to remove the Old Whittington ward. A better solution would involve adding a NE Derbyshire ward or two to the Dales seat. For example, if you add the Ashover ward to the Dales, you can take the New Whittington ward out of Chesterfield.

3. Two Derby wards need to go in a non-Derby seat. The Chellaston and Boulton wards are an acceptable choice, although it does mean you’re splitting SE Derby in two. I’ve attempted to improve the arrangements in Derby by taking out the Allestree and Darley Abbey wards, thereby keeping a Mid Derbyshire seat. (There ought to be a better name for such a seat – Derwent Gate? Darley Abbey? Belper?)

(It would be preferable to reunite the Amber Valley towns, and the Commission’s plan is better from this point of view.)

It’s then possible to form two logical Derby seats, although it does require Sinfin ward to be split. As you can see, there is a natural place to split the ward.

South Derbyshire 74,228
Derby West 77,639
Derby East 75,852
High Peak 75,052
Derbyshire Dales 77,348
Erewash 79,716
Mid Derbyshire 78,536
Bolsover 79,393
Chesterfield 77,650
North East Derbyshire 80,021

Email the Commission with your views.


Derbyshire version 0

In Derbyshire,East Midlands,redistricting on October 24, 2011 by dadge

I’m calling this version zero because it’s got no chance. A real problem with redistricting Derbyshire is Alfreton. It’d be good to keep the town in an Amber Valley seat, and it’s possible to arrange the north east okay if you do that, but the three seats are undersize, making it impossible to redistrict the rest of the county.

If you put all four Alfreton wards in the Bolsover seat, it’s hard to divide so many electors between three north-east seats. It is possible, as you can see, by having a novel north-south arrangement, but I know from the last review that dividing the north east that way isn’t considered acceptable.

Something else I think wouldn’t be countenanced is a North-Derby-and-the-Dales seat, but here it is for you to have a look at. 🙂

South Derbyshire 74,228
Derby West 80,934*
Derby East 72,557*
Erewash 79,716
High Peak 73,377
Allestree, Ashbourne & Matlock 78,399
Amber Valley 75,917
Chesterfield 77,425
Clay Cross 80,035
Dronfield & Shirebrook 79,604

*To get the Derby seats within limits, the Sinfin ward is split, with the two North Sinfin polling districts going into Derby East. The electorates then become:

Derby West 77,639
Derby East 75,852