Skip to main content
The following comment is related to
The proposed re-drawing of the North East Hampshire constituency takes it beyond all possible bounds of what could be understood to be 'natural communities'. It has been 'chopped up' yet again, taking out parts from the Basingstoke & Deane council area (which are put into North West Hampshire), and instead adding in parts from Alton and surrounding area from the East Hampshire council area, which by the time of the next General Election may even find themselves in a totally different unitary authority area (Solent) to places to the north (like Yateley). With such stringent minimum and maximum numbers of electors, it would have been much better to start with a blank sheet of paper, rather than from the existing constituencies. Natural communities on the Surrey/Hampshire/Berkshire border cross that border - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farnborough/Aldershot_Built-up_Area - an area better known as the 'Blackwater Valley', stretching from Sandhurst (Berkshire) & Yateley (Hampshire) in the North to Farnham (Surrey) in the South; from Fleet (Hampshire) in the West, to Camberley (Surrey) in the East). The town of Yateley has much more in common with the parliamentary constituency of Aldershot for example. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Alton, with which it is now proposed to group it for the purposes of what feels like a mathematical exercise. Similarly, Fleet, and Church Crookham - inextricably linked and in the same district (virtually the same place), have been split - Fleet going into North East Hampshire constituency, and Church Crookham into Aldershot. The proposed constituency of North East Hampshire will have wards from three difference councils in it (although one of those will be for just one ward). The proposals for our area just seem to lack any sense of understanding of the local community in our area. For example, our local health CCG covers 'North East Hampshire and Farnham', and this has contributed to an STP which isn't about Hampshire, or Surrey - but 'Frimley Health', straddling our border area of North East Hampshire, NW Surrey and Parts or Berkshire - see http://www.northeasthampshireandfarnhamccg.nhs.uk/news-events/282-working-together-to-improve-services-for-people-of-north-east-hampshire-and-farnham . I have tried re-drawing the boundaries, moving individual wards around, but with the parameters set, starting from existing boundaries, I can see why you have come up with the boundaries you have. A much better solution would have been to start from scratch, ignoring the Surrey/Berkshire/Hampshire border along which the natural communities of the Blackwater Valley straddle - and coming up with a more meaningful set of solutions for the people of Yateley, Blackwater, Fleet, Church Crookham, Farnham, Aldershot, Farnborough, Ash Vale, Frimley, Camberley, Deepcut, Bagshot, Sandhurst, Owlsmoor and surrounding areas - not to mention the remainder of this corner of North East Hampshire!
I responded to the previous consultation (Comment BCE-26024) on how the proposed re-drawing of the North East Hampshire constituency completely stretches the idea of natural communities beyond the realms of credulity, and suggesting a solution pooling the natural communities of the 'Blackwater Valley' which straddle the Surrey/Hampshire border as an alternative solution. Not only was I ignored, your report stated an "absence of any such satisfactory overall counter proposal", which would deal with, for example, the town of Alton now being placed in the same constituency as the the town of Yateley (which are not in natural shared communities), and towns such as Fleet and Church Crookham being ripped in half between North East Hampshire and Aldershot. So you can not make the claim again, I have gone away and done the detailed work (attached) required to create constituencies based on the 'Blackwater Valley' built-up area - three seats (Blackwater Valley North, Blackwater Valley Central, and Blackwater Valley South) - the first centred around Yateley and Camberley; the first around Fleet and Farnborough; and the third around Aldershot and Farnham - as well as the work on the knock-on effect on neighbouring constituencies to make the fit the requirements of the review. Following the point I made in my previous comment (attached), the area broadly follows the same area which deals with health public policy (for example, in the case of the CCG, and the STP); it follows the course of the River Blackwater, and matches the realities of people's lives in terms of education, public transport, shopping, voluntary services, health services and employment. The only other seat which requires a degree of work is the seat of 'Surrey/Hampshire Borders' which sees what I have left of South West Surrey added to other natural communities in neighbouring East Hampshire. You will see in my proposal that the Alton wards go back into the East Hampshire constituency, which makes for a much more coherent proposal. I would be grateful for this proposal to at least have some consideration this time. The Blackwater Valley is a reality for most people's lives in this area - as is Church Crookham and Fleet being in the same constituency. Yateley and Alton do not belong in the same constituency. The proposed pairings I have made have much more logic, even if they straddle county boundaries - people's lives do!
Type of respondent
Member of the public
57 Winton Crescent