Preston households to become Ribble Valley at next election

Posted on - 4th July, 2023 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Politics, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, South Ribble News
The Harris has been used as a polling station at previous elections Pic: Tony Worrall
The Harris has been used as a polling station at previous elections Pic: Tony Worrall

Thousands of Preston residents will find themselves in the Ribble Valley parliamentary constituency at the next general election after boundary changes were finalised.

The shift is part of a nationwide shake-up which has seen the borders of the current Preston seat redrawn and the other constituency bearing the city’s name – Wyre and Preston North – disappear altogether. The aim of the process – undertaken by the Boundary Commission for England – was to ensure that voting areas across the country are of broadly similar size.

Proposals to shake-up the city’s constituency date back to 2016 and initial Boundary Commission proposals – as they stated the city had too low a number of electors.

Read more: See more politics news in Preston

The changes do not affect any local council boundaries – meaning all of the areas amended for parliamentary purposes will remain within their current local authority’s patch.

Elsewhere in Central Lancashire, parts of Chorley will move into the neighbouring South Ribble constituency – in spite of opposition to the change – while the northern parishes of West Lancashire are bound for an expanded Southport seat.

The new Ribble Valley constituency which includes many parts of the former Wyre and Preston North seat Pic: Boundary Commission for England

In Preston, the Greyfrairs, Sharoe Green, Preston Rural North and Preston Rural East wards – totalling more than 23,000 residents – will all shift into the Ribble Valley constituency from their current home in Wyre and Preston North.

However, two other wards from that soon-to-be-defunct seat – Garrison and Cadley – will join the Preston constituency, a move which will put the whole of Cadley in the same parliamentary patch; the majority of it is currently in Wyre and Preston North, but a small western portion already sits in the Preston voting area for general elections.

The final recommendations for the new Preston seat in the next general election Pic: Boundary Commission for England

Previous proposals to send the Fishwick & Frenchwood and Ribbleton wards to Ribble Valley had already been abandoned after opposition during the multiple consultation processes that have taken place during the two-year process to decide the new boundaries. .

Read more: Mobile Event Tent moving to Ribbleton for month of events

The commission said that it had taken into account earlier feedback that the two wards were “undeniably part of the core of urban Preston and…of a similar character to the city centre”, whereas Greyfriars and Sharoe Green – which were initially earmarked to join the Preston seat – were “of a fundamentally different character to urban Preston”.

However, the organisation acknowledged that there was also “some opposition to our exchanging of the Fishwick & Frenchwood and Ribbleton wards with the Greyfriars and Sharoe Green wards, which comprise the Fulwood area…but there was also significant support”.

On the western edge of the city, the Preston seat will gain from the Fylde constituency those parts of the Ingol & Cottam and Lea and Larches wards that it does not already contain – which is the majority of them.

To the north, the Brock with Catterall, Calder, Garstang and Great Eccleston wards – currently within Wyre and Preston North – will become part of a new Lancaster and Wyre seat.

The commission had previously reversed controversial plans in Chorley to hive off the Adlington & Anderton and Chorley North East wards from the borough seat and put them – and two wards from Hyndburn – in a proposed new West Pennine Moors constituency incorporating the current Rossendale and Darwen seat.

However, while that suggested move – which a Chorley Council meeting back in 2021 heard had reduced one resident to tears – was abandoned, the commission has stuck by its proposal for the Croston, Mawdesley and Euxton South ward to remain in the South Ribble constituency and for it to be joined by the whole of the Eccleston, Heskin and Charnock Richard ward. Currently, only Eccleston is in the South Ribble voting area, while Heskin Green, Charnock Green and Charnock Richard are all in the Chorley patch.

The commission acknowledged that this suggestion had been “very poorly received” and the subject of considerable opposition, but said that in its final consultation late last year, it had “not been persuaded” to amend the proposal, “not least as large parts of these wards are already in the existing South Ribble constituency”.

The South Ribble seat itself will keep hold all the wards in the South Ribble Borough Council area that currently sit within its borders, while gaining the Farington East and Farington West wards from Ribble Valley.

The new South Ribble constituency Pic: Boundary Commission for England

However, the Walton-le-Dale East, Walton-le-Dale West, Bamber Bridge East, Bamber Bridge West, Lostock Hall, Coupe Green & Gregson Lane and Samlesbury & Walton wards will all remain in the Ribble Valley seat, which the commission described as “a positive outcome” for most of those areas.

Meanwhile, in West Lancashire, the wards of Hesketh-with-Becconsall, North Meols, Rufford, and Tarleton will all move into a broadened Southport seat. The commission said it had “noted the calls for the Rufford ward to be included within the West Lancashire constituency” – its current home – but decided against that option as there had also been representations that the four areas should all remain together.

Read more: Preston and South Ribble leaders ‘side-lined’ in Lancashire devolution talks

Following the boundary changes, almost all constituencies in England will contain between 69,724 and 77,062 voters.
The government will now draft an order containing the recommendations of all four Parliamentary Boundary Commissions across the UK. Once that is approved by the Privy Council, the new constituencies will be used for the next general election following that date – but for any by-election that may take place beforehand, existing constituencies will be used.

Detailed maps of the new boundaries for constituencies can be found on the Boundary Commission website.

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