Wednesday, 16 November 2016

My alternative constituencies: Sussex

Particularly in East Sussex, the Boundary Commission's initial proposals in Sussex are in many cases a right mess at best, and outright gerrymandering at worst, particularly with 'Brighton North' and 'Brighton Central & Hove'.

Pairing the parts of Sussex together does create a squeeze for constituencies, but it also allows for more coherent rural Sussex constituencies. A key trick is reviving the old constituency of East Grinstead, much of which is currently covered by the Wealden constituency. The size of West Sussex's constituencies also helps in shifting wards.
There are good reasons not to create Brighton North or Brighton Central & Hove. First of all, the city of Brighton & Hove has a sunray pattern, not a spiderweb pattern-it stretches outwards from the city centre (covered by St Peter's & North Laine ward) and westwards and eastwards, but the northern parts have no proper connection with each other at all; this is particularly important given the substantial use of public transport (and other green things, of course) in Brighton. Hove Park ward, formerly known as Stanford, is an integral part of Hove and should not be moved into any Brighton constituency. Instead, Hove should just take the nearest Brighton ward it connects to, which is Regency (since Hove is under-quota and has to expand), and Brighton Pavilion should take in Queen's Park to compensate, since that is the eastern ward fitting in best with its cultural outlook. The size of Brighton & Hove wards can be problematic, but only one polling district needs to be moved out of Brighton Kemptown's successor seat.

Meanwhile, Lewes is much better paired with Hailsham than it is with Uckfield, which should form part of a revived East Grinstead seat; since Mid Sussex is oversized it does not have to gain much replacement territory. Other seats need no change at all or only small changes.

My alternative constituencies for Sussex (both West and East) are therefore:

Bexhill succeeds Bexhill & Battle; even though Battle is still in this changed constituency it only has historical value and so does not need to be included in the constituency name.
East Grinstead succeeds Wealden and recreates the pre-1983 constituency of East Grinstead (which included Crowborough and Uckfield).
:Lewes & Hailsham succeeds Lewes.
Haywards Heath & Burgess Hill succeeds Mid Sussex.
Brighton West succeeds Brighton Paviliion. It has polling district DY of East Brighton ward which is east of Felstead Road in Queen's Park ward, making its actual electorate 72,046.
Brighton East & Seaford succeeds Brighton Kemptown. It loses polling district DY of East Brighton ward, making its actual electorate 78,202.
Eastbourne, Hastings & Rye, Bognor Regis & Littlehampton, Worthing West, and Worthing East & Shoreham are all unchanged.

By now the majority of the public hearings for the 2018 review have finished, and written responses need to be submitted to the BCE by 5 December. The next section in my series focuses on South West England.

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