‘Ridiculous, does not make sense’ - reaction to Halifax boundary shake-up

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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.

The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has now completed a 12-week consultation on the proposals, and reports that plans to move some South Bradford wards to neighbouring seats have proven to be among the most controversial suggestions.

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

Matthew Walker, St Georges Crescent, Halifax

“The proposed new boundaries for Halifax are ridiculous: areas that have long been considered part of Halifax like Illingworth and Sowerby Bridge have been removed into the Calder Valley while other areas like Brighouse and Bradford which are quite clearly not part of the historic Halifax area and in Bradfords case clearly part of a different council area covering one of Englands great cities and not part of a neigbouriing non contiguous semi-rural urban area, when it is clearly an urban area.”

Janet Bertola, The Fairway, Holmfield

“I live three miles from Halifax town centre with an HX2 postcode and wish to stay part of the Halifax constituency.

“There is no way I am part of the Calder Valley constituency being miles away from the River Calder and separated from most of the area by a barrier of hills I have no physical connection to that area and desire to stay in the Halifax constituency.”

Philip Shire, Heath Gardens, Halifax

“Halifax is not just a constituency, it is a town with a long and proud history and I want the ward where I live, Skircoat, to remain as part of this constituency along with other historic Halifax wards, Warley and Illingworth/Mixenden.

“You have to live in Halifax to understand how inappropriate it is for the Boundary Commisssion to split the town down the middle in this way.

“Then you are proposing to include as part of Halifax, Calder valley towns that have never seen themselves as part of Halifax and are proud of their separateness, most notably Brighouse.

“You cannot just juggle these places with their own strong identities in order to ‘make up the numbers’. You surely must consider the underlying geography and historical traditions of the places as well.”

John O’Grady, Wakefield Road, Hipperholme

“I think the proposals to move parts of the existing Halifax and Calder Valley constituencies do not make sense.

“There is a real value in the current makeup of the CV constituency, as the towns of the Calder Valley have much more in common with each other than any of them have with their larger neighbourhood, Halifax.

“I recognise the need for change, but the CV constituency would be much better off being left alone if at all possible.”

Paula Barrett, Rose Heath, Illingworth

“I agree with the boundary changes and hope that it will also lead to less MPs also by merging districts hopefully it will encourage local councils to share services.”

Glenn Roper, Meadow Drive, Wheatley

“I welcome the decision to make each vote carry equal weight. The proposals will inevitably result in strange constituencies.

“I am broadly in favour of the new Halifax constituency boundaries. Perhaps it would be better to refer to it as East Calderdale and the Calderdale seat as West Calderdale given the nature of the proposals.

“It is important to ensure that new MPs are able to easily represent their constituents. The proposals regarding Halifax allow that.”