The following comment is related to BCE-22735

At its meeting on 9 November 2016, the London Borough of Enfield unanimously agreed to make the following representations to the Boundary Commission for England in response to your initial proposals for the 2018 review of parliamentary constituency boundaries.

“The London Borough of Enfield notes the initial proposals made by the Boundary Commission for England for the review of parliamentary constituency boundaries, which were published on 13 September 2016.

The Council further notes that the Commission must conduct the review in accordance with the provisions of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011, which requires that each constituency must contain between 71,031 and 78, 507 parliamentary electors.

However, the Council and representatives of both political parties agree that the initial proposals, as they impact on all three of the existing constituencies within the borough, are not in the best interests of the people of Enfield and its surrounding area, and should therefore be re-considered.

In making this statement, the Council does not consider it is able to offer specific alternative proposals. It does not have the specialist resources available to undertake such complex re-calculations, which the Commission does, and even if it did, the necessary political independence of the review might be compromised.

Notwithstanding these points, the Council urges the Boundary Commission to re-consider its initial proposals as they currently impact on the wards specifically within the existing Enfield Southgate constituency for the following reasons:

• We do not believe that sufficient consideration has been given to the social and cultural differences between the communities based in the three wards currently located within the Enfield Southgate constituency (Southgate, Southgate Green and Winchmore Hill) that it is proposed to combine with the five wards from Barnet to form the new Finchley and Southgate constituency. There is a lack of any natural community connection or social cohesiveness across this new constituency.

• The tenuous nature of public transport links and accessibility across the proposed Finchley and Southgate constituency. Currently wards within the Enfield Southgate constituency are linked via strong transport connections in terms of both the London Underground Piccadilly line and Govia Thameslink rail services, which reinforce the strong existing residential, commercial and social ties across the constituency. Existing public transport links across the proposed new constituency lack any natural synergy and reinforce the artificial nature of the constituency created.

• The lack of any shared identity between Southgate and Finchley and confusion likely to be caused for residents and local councillors in terms how they relate to their local M.P. The main community, commercial and residential links between residents living in wards within the current Enfield Southgate constituency remain focussed within the London Borough of Enfield rather than within Barnet or Haringey (in the case of the proposal affecting Bowes wards). The proposals also have the potential to disenfranchise local residents in the wards affected. This is felt to be especially relevant in terms of both Cockfosters and Bowes wards, as geographically these areas will form the minority interest within the new constituency boundaries for the M.P.s. As a result it is felt neither the proposed Chipping Barnet and Mill Hill or Hornsey and Wood Green constituencies will be seen as constituencies primarily serving the constituents of Enfield.

• The Borough regrets that the historical tie of Southgate to Enfield will be irreparably severed, creating significant administrative issues for the Borough Council. Under the current proposals there will now be five rather than the current three M.P.s with a constituency interest in the London Borough of Enfield. Taken alongside the increasing level of population growth being experienced within Enfield and across Outer London as a whole it is not felt that the proposals sufficiently respect the existing local government boundaries or that the best interests of the borough will be served by representation being split across five rather than the three constituencies as they currently exist which have a majority interest in the London Borough of Enfield.

• In addition, the Council is concerned about the proposed relocation of the Palmers Green ward into the new Edmonton constituency. The argument is made in the report that “We believe that this reconfiguration provides for improved road connections within the constituency, particularly with the Bush Hill Park ward that lies to the west of the A10.” The borough feels that this justification fails to recognise the significant historical, social and community links between Palmers Green and Southgate, which can be demonstrated by the fact that the former Southgate Town Hall site is located within this ward. The proposed change also fails to take account of the lack of a natural connection between Palmers Green and Edmonton, especially when taking account of the A10 as a major geographical division and fact that some of the wider area commonly referred to as Palmers Green extends beyond the ward of that name meaning the area as a whole would be divided between constituencies.

The London Borough of Enfield therefore urges the Boundary Commission for England to re-consider its initial proposals in light of the statements made above in order to better reflect the needs of the local area and which will result in three Enfield-focussed constituencies.”

I have attached a copy of a letter signed by the Chief Executive on behalf of the Council formally setting out the representations agreed on behalf of the Council.

Many Thanks.

Type of respondent

On behalf of a Local Authority

Personal details

James Kinsella
London Borough of Enfield - Electoral Services
Enfield Civic Centre
Silver Street
Enfield
EN1 3XA

Comment type