Wednesday, 23 November 2016

My alternative constituencies: Staffordshire

Within the West Midlands, Staffordshire also loses one seat but many of its existing constituencies will endure no real change during the process.

The lost seat should not be Stoke-on-Trent Central, for little modification is needed for Stoke-on-Trent North; Kidsgrove, currently in the authority of Newcastle-under-Lyme, really belongs to Stoke-on-Trent, as does Newchapel. The border between Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke is now increasingly blurred but the further outwards you go from the centres of both places, the easier it is to tell which area a suburb is attached to. Stoke-on-Trent Central should instead expand southwards, since no wards need to be removed from it although adjustments for internal ward boundary changes must be accounted for. The constituency that actually merits abolition is Stone, due to its rather incoherent nature and the fact its area is easier for other constituencies to expand into; part of it is better connected with Leek anyway. Stone itself cannot be absorbed into an expanded Stafford constituency because a hypothetical Stafford & Stone constituency would exceed the maximum electorate limit by as much as 12,000 electors. At any rate, there is no need for either constituency within the district of Stafford to include any part of Newcastle-under-Lyme, even its rural areas. One advantage of the parameters here is that the expanded Staffordshire Moorlands constituency can now be coterminous with the authority it is named after.

My alternative constituencies for Staffordshire look like this:

Stone is abolished.
Stoke-on-Trent South & Stone succeeds Stoke-on-Trent South.
South West Staffordshire has the same boundaries as the current South Staffordshire; the name change reflects its true geographical position within Staffordshire and the fact it is not coterminous with the authority of the same name. In fact, this constituency has changed very little since 1974, apart from a few villages being moved into Stafford in 1997.
Cannock Chase, Burton, Tamworth, and Lichfield are all unchanged (apart from a few internal ward boundary adjustments in Tamworth's and Lichfield's cases).

Next in this series: Warwickshire.

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