Tuesday, 29 November 2016

My alternative constituencies: West Yorkshire

West Yorkshire has overall the second-largest ward sizes in the UK, with most wards having 11,000 to 13,000 electors each, and in Leeds' case sometimes as many as 17,000.  This makes ward splitting a necessity in several parts of this highly urbanised part of Britain for the purposes of creating sensible constituencies. Connectivity is vital.

I believe it is best if the city of Leeds and 'Leeds Outer' are separated as much as possible for creating new constituencies. However, the area once covered by the county borough of Leeds before 1974 (i.e. the city of Leeds and not towns like Morley, Otley, or Pudsey) is not quite the correct size for creating a whole number of sensible constituencies entirely within Leeds, so a few outer parts of the city of Leeds will have to share territory with Leeds' suburbs (which are still civil parishes). Otley and Morley can have their own suburban/semi-rural constituencies to themselves, just like those places making up the current Elmet & Rothwell. The same should happen with Bradford (which has a similar problem to Leeds in this regard), with the small town of Queensbury being paired with Halifax and reunited with Shelf, with which it formed an urban district from 1935-1974.

Many of the changes seem rather drastic and unnecessary, or at least need some tweaking. Elmet & Rothwell being unchanged, Huddersfield adding Lindley ward, and Leeds East adding Burmantofts & Richmond Hill ward are the only BCE initial proposals I approve of in this area. It is easier on the Wakefield district if Normanton, Pontefract & Castleford was kept intact, if Wakefield was reunited (Ossett is not needed as it is actually a separate community), and if Hemsworth was changed to be in quota and take in no part of the actual city of Wakefield. This can be done by substituting Wakefield South for Wakefield Rural in Hemsworth's case. Ossett, meanwhile, can be paired with Dewsbury leaving Batley & Spen unchanged. I do appreciate the merits of both but to ease the situation in Leeds and Bradford, it is better if Batley & Spen was left intact.

My alternative constituencies for West Yorkshire are therefore:

Leeds West is abolished.
Leeds North West is abolished.
Brighouse & Sowerby succeeds Calder Valley. Within Town ward of Calderdale it contains polling district RD, comprising the village of Southowram, making its actual electorate 76,952.
Halifax & Queensbury succeeds Halifax. Within Town ward of Calderdale it loses polling district RD, making its actual electorate 77,593.
Shipley & Bradford North succeeds Shipley, taking in more of the actual city of Bradford. Within Bingley Rural ward it loses polling districts 3A, 3G, and 3H (comprising the area by Halifax Road), making its actual electorate 77,767 and the changed Keighley's new electorate 71,981 (apart from gaining these 3 polling districts, Keighley retains its current boundaries).
Bradford West actually succeeds Bradford South in practice; the old Bradford West seat is effectively abolished in this plan.
Morley succeeds Morley & Outwood. The Outwood part moves to Wakefield.
Leeds North succeeds Leeds North East. Within Kirkstall ward it contains polling districts KIB and KID which are both east of the railway line going via Horsforth, making its actual electorate 74,228 and the changed Pudsey's new electorate 77,945.
Leeds South succeeds Leeds Central.
Elmet & Rothwell, Batley & Spen, and Normanton, Pontefract & Castleford are all unchanged.
Otley is a new seat comprising Leeds' northern suburbs and the village of Wharfedale. Most of this seat was part of the old Ripon constituency from 1950 to 1983.

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