Boundary Commission recommends Colnbrook to stay put; Chalvey to pay price of over-representation in Windsor
The Boundary Commission has backtracked on proposals in the last review of constituencies to move Colnbrook from Windsor to Spelthorne. But Slough’s Chalvey ward is set to pay the price this time around in the bid to equalise constituency size.
Half the constituencies in the South East will be affected by sweeping changes if the Boundary Commission’s new proposals are accepted.
The Commission’s proposals for the South East, just released, leave 15 of the 84 existing constituencies unchanged, while “minor” changes are proposed to a further 47 constituencies. Minor, as far as the Commission is concerned, means two wards or fewer altered from the existing constituencies.
In Berkshire, two of the eight existing constituencies are unchanged, including the Prime Minister’s Maidenhead constituency, while four could see the gain or loss of one ward.
Four (Bracknell, Maidenhead, Slough, and Wokingham) have electorates within 5% of the electoral quota. Of the remaining four constituencies, Newbury is over the 5% electoral quota and Reading East, Windsor, and Reading West are all below the 5% electoral quota.
In order to reduce the large electorate in the Newbury constituency, the Commission is proposing to transfer the West Berkshire Borough ward of Aldermaston to the Wokingham constituency. In the Reading East and Reading West constituencies, both are within 5% of the electoral quota, it is proposing to transfer the Wokingham Borough ward of Maiden Erlegh to the Reading East constituency and the ward of Mapledurham from the Reading East constituency to the Reading West constituency.
Closer to home, and likely to raise a withering response from Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart, it is proposed to transfer the Chalvey ward from Slough to address the current over-representation in the Windsor constituency.
In October 2012, Mrs Mactaggart reacted angrily to proposals to move Cippenham Meadows into Windsor. She said at the time:
“It has decided to make Slough the victim of Surrey’s difficulties, handing Colnbrook and Poyle to a different county, but worse, shoving one of the wards which includes the central part of Slough, Cippenham Meadows, into Windsor, claiming wrongly that it has better transport links to Windsor than eastern wards”.
Mrs Mactaggart was given access to a pre-release version of the recommendations this afternoon but she has yet to comment on the new proposals.
.. we identified that including other wards would result in the Slough constituency being detached or require the inclusion of multiple wards.
The commission said it did consider whether other wards in Slough Borough could be included in the Windsor constituency in order to ensure it met the electoral quota but ruled this out:
“.. we identified that including other wards would result in the Slough constituency being detached or require the inclusion of multiple wards. We considered whether a ward from Buckinghamshire county could be included in the Windsor constituency but were of the view that crossing the county boundary was not necessary”.
Had the aborted changes to the constituencies proposed in 2013 gone ahead as planned the Boundary Commission could well have been considering moving Colnbrook again this time around. Its policy is to avoid cross-county boundaries as far as possible but, last time, it had recommended transferring Colnbrook with Poyle to Spelthorne to avoid too much change for other areas.
Ironically, Heathrow’s latest plan to divert the M25 west of the new runway could leave the village with a major new physical barrier from both Slough and Windsor.
The initial recommendations, which were embargoed until 12:01am can be viewed on the Boundary Commission’s website here.
The changes to Berkshire constituencies at a glance
|Constituency||Current Assessment||Wards to cede||Wards to gain|
|Bracknell||Within 5% of the electoral quota||No change|
|Maidenhead||Within 5% of the electoral quota||No change|
|Slough||Within 5% of the electoral quota||Chalvey ward (to Windsor)|
|Wokingham||Within 5% of the electoral quota||Maiden Erlegh (to Reading West)||Aldermaston (to Wokingham)|
|Newbury||Over the 5% electoral quota||Aldermaston (to Wokingham)|
|Reading East||Below the 5% electoral quota||Mapledurham (to Reading West)||Maiden Erlegh (from Wokingham)|
|Windsor||Below the 5% electoral quota||Chalvey ward (from Slough)|
|Reading West||Below the 5% electoral quota||Mapledurham from Reading East)|
The new Slough constituency will comprise 13 of Slough Borough Council’s 15 wards, one few than at present.
|Slough||Local Authority Ward||71,317|
|Baylis and Stoke||Slough||5,428|
|Britwell and Northborough||Slough||5,538|
|Haymill and Lynch Hill||Slough||6,167|
|Langley St. Mary’s||Slough||6,301|
The new Windsor constituency will include 19 wards from three different local authority areas.
|Windsor||Local Authority Ward||74,185|
|Binfield with Warfield||Bracknell Forest||6,444|
|Warfield Harvest Ride||Bracknell Forest||5,755|
|Winkfield and Cranbourne||Bracknell Forest||3,883|
|Colnbrook with Poyle||Slough||3,404|
|Ascot and Cheapside||Windsor and Maidenhead||3,643|
|Castle Without||Windsor and Maidenhead||4,418|
|Clewer East||Windsor and Maidenhead||3,465|
|Clewer North||Windsor and Maidenhead||5,341|
|Clewer South||Windsor and Maidenhead||3,406|
|Datchet||Windsor and Maidenhead||3,368|
|Eton and Castle||Windsor and Maidenhead||1,227|
|Eton Wick||Windsor and Maidenhead||1,711|
|Horton and Wraysbury||Windsor and Maidenhead||3,723|
|Old Windsor||Windsor and Maidenhead||3,573|
|Park||Windsor and Maidenhead||3,536|
|Sunningdale||Windsor and Maidenhead||3,489|
|Sunninghill and South Ascot||Windsor and Maidenhead||4,481|