Why 700 for Walthamstow

The Boundary Commission is reviewing the boundaries of Westminster parliamentary constituencies, following legislation to reduce their number, and make them more equal in size. It will report in 2018.

In a similar review in 2011, it initially included a Walthamstow constituency, but later eliminated it. '700 for Walthamstow' aimed to get local people, appalled by this, to send written responses to the Commission. In all around 1000 were sent (though the whole process was stopped in 2012 when parliament voted to stop it).

Saturday, 28 October 2017

2018 Revised Proposals published - 17 October

The Boundary Commission for England (BCE), on 17 October 2017, published proposals for new Parliamentary constituency boundaries and opened its third and final consultation:

"Following a decision by Parliament to reduce the number of constituencies in the UK to 600 from 650, and to ensure that the number of electors in each constituency is equal, the BCE has been asked to make independent recommendations about where the boundaries of English constituencies should be.

An initial 12-week consultation was held in the autumn last year, giving the public the first chance to view and comment on BCE’s plans, followed by a second consultation in the Spring of this year. Over 25,000 public responses were received during these consultations. Based on what the public have told us about their local communities, we have decided to revise over half of our initial proposals.

"From today (17 October), people can go to the BCE’s website, www.bce2018.org.uk, to view the new plans we have published. All the public comments we received during the first two consultations are also published on the website."

London proposal details are here.

People have until 11 December to have their say.
Have your say by 'making a comment' on this page

See below for the responses about Walthamstow from last autumn [Page numbers refer to the pdf on the Commission website], or . . .

Scroll right down to see the
Revised proposals as they affect Walthamstow 
- spoiler alert: our responses were very effective - it remains exactly as it is plus Forest ward. 

Responses about Walthamstow

[p4] In light of the responses to our initial proposals, we have revised 27 of our initial proposals in the North Thames sub-region, where we have been able to increase the number of existing constituencies retained to four: Hornchurch and Upminster, Ilford South, Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, and Twickenham. In particular, we have tried to address significant concerns from the local communities in Chingford and Woodford, Walthamstow, Dagenham and Rainham, Enfield and Southgate, and Harrow. In attempting to address issues raised with our proposals for Enfield, our revised proposals split one ward – Brunswick Park – between constituencies. We have made a number of other changes based on the views of local communities.

[p13] 3.13 The main areas of opposition to the initial proposals were in the constituencies of Dagenham and Rainham, Romford, Walthamstow, Chingford and Woodford, Finchley and Southgate, Tottenham, Hampstead and Golders Green, Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, and Harrow and Stanmore. In seeking to address these issues our assistant commissioners have considered counter-proposals from a wide section of those who have given evidence during the initial and secondary consultations
3.15 The Liberal Democrat Party (BCE-28274) proposed to retain 21 of the proposed constituencies, but did not seek to address the issues of Chingford and Woodford (Bridge ward), or Walthamstow, instead moving Higham Hill and William Morris wards along with Chapel End ward into a Chingford and Walthamstow constituency.

[p16] 3.28 Turning to our initial proposals for the constituencies of Chingford and Woodford Green, Walthamstow, Leytonstone and Wanstead, and Ilford North, these are a complex, inter-related set of proposals. In our initial proposals, Ilford North retained six wards from the existing constituency and gained three wards from the Ilford South constituency to bring it into range. There was significant opposition to this as Ilford North and Ilford South are viewed as the ‘capital’ of Redbridge Borough. Clifford Harris (BCE-34266) among other respondents stated: ‘Ilford is a large distinct place that is served well by being split into two constituencies (Ilford North and South). It is the capital of LB Redbridge.’ This was further reinforced by the representation of John Bryant (BCE-32650) on day one of the Romford public hearing: ‘A key element of these proposals is that the existing Ilford South seat can actually be left completely unchanged and I think that is quite a positive thing because Ilford South, as it stands at the moment, is beautifully defined by the Redbridge boundary and the A12 and the River Roding. It is within quota. One would suggest that this is the kind of seat that ought to be left unaltered if that is possible and my plan does achieve this.’ 

[p18] 3.33 In response to the initial proposals there was also opposition to the Leytonstone and Wanstead constituency, to which we had added the Forest, Leytonstone, and Wood Street wards. Ruth Lukom (BCE-19833) was representative of many respondents, stating: ‘I wish to object to the proposed changes to the Walthamstow constituency. Wood Street is an integral part of the borough.’ 
3.34 The initial proposals for the Walthamstow constituency also received significant opposition due to the loss of Chapel End and Wood Street wards. The main opposition to the Chapel End ward being moved to the proposed Chingford and Woodford constituency was that it is the location of the Waltham Forest Town Hall. Many respondents agreed with Barbara de Lacy (BCE-35828), who said: ‘Chapel End should remain within Waltham Forest. Chapel End’s identity is defined by its vicinity to the Town Hall, the College, Lloyd Park/William Morris Gallery — all very much Walthamstow landmarks.’
3.35 The Labour Party (BCE-33244), John Bryant (BCE-28336) and Pete Whitehead (BCE-27879) also gave support to this campaign. Their counter-proposals returned both Chapel End and Wood Street wards to the Walthamstow constituency. This was brought into the permitted electorate range by the addition of Forest ward from the existing Leyton and Wanstead constituency, for which there was some support from Alex Hughes (BCE-18985) and other respondents. Mr Hughes stated: ‘I propose that Walthamstow retains the constituency in its current form, but with the addition of Forest ward. This would make nine wards in all, giving an electorate of 71,280 (against the minimum requirement of 71,031).’ Jane Duran (BCE-25789) stated: ‘While I would personally prefer to keep Forest ward (where I have lived for over twenty years) in the same constituency as Grove Green, Leyton and Leytonstone it is clear that would be unacceptable due to the tight numbers that the Commission has to work within and — within those parameters — it is probably the most reasonable ward to move into Walthamstow.’
3.36 In the initial proposals the Chingford and Woodford Green constituency retained its existing wards and was brought into the permitted electorate range by the addition of Chapel End ward from the Walthamstow constituency. There was a campaign to bring Bridge ward from the existing Ilford North constituency into the proposed Chingford and Woodford constituency. Iain Duncan Smith MP (BCE-33101) submitted a proposal for changes to the four constituencies of Chingford and Woodford Green, Walthamstow, Leytonstone and Wanstead, and Ilford North.
3.36 In the initial proposals the Chingford and Woodford Green constituency retained its existing wards and was brought into the permitted electorate range by the addition of Chapel End ward from the Walthamstow constituency. There was a campaign to bring Bridge ward from the existing Ilford North constituency into the proposed Chingford and Woodford constituency. Iain Duncan Smith MP (BCE-33101) submitted a proposal for changes to the four constituencies of Chingford and Woodford Green, Walthamstow, Leytonstone and Wanstead, and Ilford North.

[p19] 3.38 Mr Duncan Smith’s proposal is in line with the proposed changes that John Bryant has made to the Chingford and Woodford Green constituency and is supported by the Labour Party and Pete Whitehead. This proposal can be facilitated following the return of the Chapel End ward to the Walthamstow constituency. 
3.39 In considering the evidence received regarding these constituencies, the assistant commissioners noted in particular the opposition to the removal of the Ilford South constituency, and the arguments that showed the break in local ties in the Walthamstow and Woodford areas. While acknowledging that it is necessary to lose a constituency across East London, they were persuaded by the strength of feeling shown, and arguments relating to communities that were voiced at the Romford hearing in particular, that changes were necessary to the initial proposals.
3.40 They advised us that the counter-proposal put forward by Iain Duncan Smith MP, supported by, or contiguous with, those of other respondents, is the most appropriate in this area. It has the benefit of reinstating the broken local ties in Walthamstow and Woodford in particular, while providing a better fit to existing constituencies. The recommendations also fit with those for the constituencies to the east and south, as proposed by John Bryant. We therefore accept the recommendations for Chingford and Woodford, Walthamstow, Ilford North and Wanstead, and Ilford South.

Annex A: Revised proposals for constituencies, including wards and electorates:
[p69]
63. Walthamstow BC 71,280 
  • Chapel End Waltham Forest 8,001 
  • Forest Waltham Forest 7,321 
  • High Street Waltham Forest 7,737 
  • Higham Hill Waltham Forest 8,197 
  • Hoe Street Waltham Forest 7,960 
  • Lea Bridge Waltham Forest 8,459 
  • Markhouse Waltham Forest 7,735 
  • William Morris Waltham Forest 7,597 
  • Wood Street Waltham Forest 8,273 

Thursday, 4 May 2017

What effect does the 'snap' general election have?

On June 19th the Boundary Commission issued the following statement - the day after the prime minister's official announcement:

"Today Parliament agreed to the Prime Minister’s motion to hold a General Election on 8 June 2017. This election will be held on the current Parliamentary boundaries, and will elect 650 MPs across the UK.
The work of the Boundary Commission for England (and of the Commissions for the three other parts of the UK) is set out in the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 and is not affected directly by the holding of a General Election during a review. We have recently completed the second consultation of the 2018 Boundary Review and will be spending time over the summer analysing the 25,000 public comments that we have received on them. If we decide to revise our proposals, we will publish the revised constituencies and consult on them, probably towards the end of 2017. The Parliamentary Constituencies Act requires us to report our recommendations to Parliament in September 2018 and we are on track to do so.
Should Parliament agree to implement our recommendations, the new boundaries we recommend will be in place at the next General Election after that time. In accordance with the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, that election is due to be held in May 2022."
There is no reference here to the fact that the 2022 election would then be taking place on the basis of constituency sizes on December 1st 2014. It is more than possible there would be parliamentary debate on the effect of this, which to some extent would cancel the original legislative aim for parity of electorate sizes across constituencies within a margin of +/- 5%. Population movements over the nearly eight years, especially in urban areas, would probably have required considerable redrawing of boundaries to achieve such an aim. We await the response of the new parliament.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Lib Dems don't think William Morris belongs to Walthamstow - boundary review proposal

The Lib Dems have recently published their response to the boundary commission proposals for parliamentary boundaries. Clearly they don't think William Morris belongs in Walthamstow as they've sent it to Chingford. This map shows the outline of their proposal:


On it you can see that the Wards of William Morris, Higham Hill and Chapel End are tied to wards the other side of the North Circular to form a revised Chingford Constituency, whilst The revised ‘Walthamstow and Leyton’ constituency keeps Hoe St, Wood St, High St, Markhouse, and Lea Bridge wards and gains Cathall, Grove Green Forest, Leyton and Leytonstone.

If you'd like to comment on these proposals you only have until 27 March. the quickest way to respond is online. Follow this link and look for the 'add comment' link at the upper right  of the page.

Below is the full map of our sector of the NE London group they're proposing, and below that the other sectors (the original proposals are here, and the Labour Party counter proposals here):


Tuesday, 28 February 2017

2018 Boundary Review - submit comments on the public responses

Today the Boundary Commission for England (bce) published the responses it received during the consultation period last autumn on the proposals it put forward for boundary changes, in line with Parliamentary legislation. You can see details of these proposals as they affect Walthamstow here.


The map shows the locations of responses across Walthamstow. (Yellow blobs are responses that included counter proposals.) Click here or the picture to go to the page on the bce website (you then need to zoom in to where you want to see). Note that the boundary in red is the proposed new boundary, which is different from the existing constituency boundary for Walthamstow.

The autumn consultation took responses in person and by email. You can read transcripts of the responses in person here (then search for the area etc of your interest), or video recordings of the public sessions that took place in Romford here (list of the London response venues here). The recording of my own response is here. (Transcript here scroll to p 27. I was speaking in a personal capacity rather than as secretary of Walthamstow Labour Party.)

You can from now until 27th March submit comments on these responses from members of the public. Click here for the bce map; click on the 'move' hand to find the response you want to comment on; click on the balloon for that comment and follow the instructions.

Following this secondary consultation, the Commission will be considering all representations received from both consultations, and will consider whether any revisions are needed. If they decide to revise the proposals, they will consult on the revised boundaries. Any such consultation is expected to happen towards the end of 2017, or in early 2018.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

2018 Boundary Review - dates of second consultation announced

News from the Boundary Commission:

"15 February 2017 11:05 - Last year, the Boundary Commission for England published and consulted on our initial proposals for new constituency boundaries. We received nearly 20,000 responses to that consultation. The next stage of the 2018 Review is for us to publish all those representations so that others may comment on them. 

We intend to publish all the representations on Tuesday 28 February 2017, and invite comments on them for four weeks until Monday 27 March 2017. All representations will be published on our website at www.bce2018.org.uk

Following this secondary consultation, the Commission will be considering all representations received from both consultations, and will consider whether any revisions are needed. If we decide to revise the proposals, we will consult on the revised boundaries. We currently expect any such consultation to happen towards the end of 2017, or in early 2018."

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

News from the first public hearing - responses from the 3 parties

Yesterday and today the first public hearing takes place in Westminster. At this hearing – the first in the region – the five political parties with English seats in the UK Parliament are offered a longer speaking slot at the start of the hearing to set out their proposals for the whole region. 

For Walthamstow and surrounding areas the responses to the BC initial proposals have been: 

Labour Party – retain Walthamstow in its current form with the addition of Forest ward (currently in Leyton & Wanstead). Walthamstow Ward list becomes: Higham Hill, High St, Hoe St, Lea Bridge, Markhouse, William Morris, Wood St., Chapel End, Forest. 

Conservative Party – return Chapel End to Walthamstow, but leave Wood Street in Leytonstone and Wanstead as per BC initial proposals. Walthamstow Ward list becomes: Cathall, Chapel End, Grove Green, Higham Hill, High St, Hoe St, Lea Bridge, Markhouse, William Morris, Leyton. 

Liberal Democrats – no comment at this stage. Ward list remains: Higham Hill, High St, Hoe St, Lea Bridge, Markhouse, William Morris, Leyton, Grove Green, Cathall, Cann Hall.

To see the current electoral boundaries at the various administrative levels (wards, parliamentary constituencies etc) visit the OS Election maps pages.

Monday, 26 September 2016

The 2016 Boundary Commission proposals for Walthamstow

Below are the new constituencies as proposed by the Boundary Commission. There will be public hearings for people to respond to these:
  • Westminster – 17-18 October
  • Bromley – 20-21 October
  • Harrow -24-25 October
  • Kingston – 27-28 October
  • Romford – 31 October-1 November


1. Walthamstow
Wards:- Higham Hill, High St, Hoe St, Lea Bridge, Markhouse, William Morris, Leyton, Grove Green, Cathall, Cann Hall


2. Leytonstone and Wanstead
Barkingside, Clayhall, Cranbrook, Snaresbrook, Valentines, Wanstead, Forest, Leytonstone, Wood St.


3. Chingford & Woodford Green
Wards:- Chapel End, Hale End & Highams Park, Larkswood, Valley, Hatch Lane, Endlebury, Chingford Green, Church End, Monkhams


More information coming soon . . .