‘A travesty’ - reaction to Calder Valley boundary shake-up

Views of Brighouse town centre.
Views of Brighouse town centre.

The body in charge of a controversial shake-up of Parliamentary constituencies in Halifax and the Calder Valley has published results from its first round of public consultations.

Under provisional plans released last year, almost every constituency in the wider Yorkshire region will have its boundaries re-drawn ahead of the next general election in a bid to equalise voter numbers and cut the total number of MPs from 650 to 600.

The Calder Valley and Halifax constituencies will undergo a major reshuffle in proposals being put forward by the Commission.

Brighouse, Rastrick, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe and Elland will now come under the Halifax constituency along with Royds from the City of Bradford.

The Halifax constituency will also be made up of Northowram and Shelf, Ovenden, Park and Town wards.

The new look Calder Valley constituency will consist of the wards Calder, Greetland and Stainland, Illingworth and Mixenden, Ludendenfoot, Ryburn, Skircoat, Sowerby Bridge, Todmorden and Warley.

A second consultation period has started ahead of a major electoral shake-up.

The independent Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has been asked to make recommendations about where the boundaries of English constituencies should be, based on a reduction from 650 to 600 overall and more equal numbers of electors in each.

Here is some of the feedback that residents submitted to the commission over the changes to the Calder Valley Constituency.

Richard Lord, Woodhouse Gardens.

“Brighouse is the second largest town in Calderdale at the far end of the borough and is a small thriving town with a strong community spirit.

“As such many people in the town resent decisions made by the council in Halifax which largely seem to favour Halifax and which have little regard for the wider communities and their individual needs.

“To lump the existing constituencies into one under in Halifax in my view is a retrograde step and will alienate very many people who have absolutely no desire to be part of a larger Halifax constituency.”

Marie Wright, Heath Mount Road, Rastrick

“Local people are aggrieved that we are being taken out of the Calder Valley constituency – the river Calder runs through the heart of our district, and is historically the boundary between Brighouse and Rastrick.

“We are Calder Valley people. To take Brighouse and Rastrick out of the Calder Valley constituency and put us into the Halifax constituency is a travesty.

“Furthermore, it makes no sense for the revised Halifax constituency to continue as “Halifax” given that there are many outlying towns and villages in the proposed constituency that are not within Halifax.

“There is a concern locally that we will not be properly represented in Parliament as part of a constituency that is known only by the name of its largest town.”

Bob Acheson, Lords Lane, Brighouse

“I would like to record my objection to Brighouse becoming part of Halifax. Halifax has, historically, been all for itself as a Council and most of the people in the town object to Halifax.

“We would, I feel, be better as part of Huddersfield as all our links are with them e.g. Postcode and Telephone area code.”

Jon Crowther, Lindrick Way, Bradshaw

“I live in a suburb of Halifax which has and always will be part of Halifax and sits on the edges of the Hebble valley NOT the Calder Valley!

Why are we being potentially put in the Calder Valley ward which has and always will be the valley of the river Calder from Brighouse in the east to Todmorden in the west.

“I am totally against this number crunching map drawing exercise with no thought process behind it go back to your drawing board and take a geography lesson.”

David Armitage, Savile Close, Clifton

“The proposals for Calderdale, but specifically the Brighouse area, I find unacceptable. This area, encompassing the wards of Brighouse, Rastrick and Hipperholme & Lightcliffe, have been moved into the Halifax constituency.

“There may be bias on my part, but I do feel the proposal will not be supported by local people and will alienate voters in the Brighouse area who have absolutely no interest in being part of the Halifax constituency.”

Charles Moran, Lower Moor, Ripponden

“I think the proposed boundary changes make both geographical and common sense. The bulk of the proposed constituency will be made up of most of the small Pennine communities in the West of Yorkshire.

“The Brighouse area is logically not a part of these communities with its proximity to both Kirklees and Bradford.”

John Cooke, Church Street, Elland

“It is utterly absurd to link Halifax as it is proposed with Brighouse and Elland. It is also utterly absurd to link Savile Park with the Calder Valley. There is no historical correlation between these areas. I am afraid I cannot support these changes on principal and wish to lodge a strong protest.”

Bob Hunter, Longroyde Grove, Brighouse

“I have no relationship with Halifax other than paying my taxes to them.

“Please, please, please move the boundaries so that Brighouse and East Rick are not in the Halifax constituency. There has to be a difference between the local government and national government jurisdictions to provide a counterbalance and to prevent too close contamination.”