Calls for renaming of ‘Peterborough’ and ‘Fenland’ constituencies

Calls have been made to rename constituencies in Peterborough and Fenland.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 4:57 am
Part of the proposed new Peterborough constituency
Part of the proposed new Peterborough constituency

Fenland District Council is planning to respond to a consultation by the Boundary Commission for England which is seeking to review constituency boundaries so they have between 69,724 and 77,062 voters in them.

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The proposed changes would increase the number of constituencies across Peterborough and Cambridgeshire from seven to eight.

The Peterborough constituency would remain largely as it is now, with parts of Fletton and Woodston and Glinton and Castor wards moving over to the North West Cambridgeshire constituency.

The final recommendations will be made to Parliament by July 2023.

Responding to the consultation, the district council said the rejigged North East Cambridgeshire constituency should be renamed as “Fenland”, with a separate constituency called “East Cambridgeshire”.

It said: “It makes no sense, and could create confusion, that the proposed parliamentary constituency does not have the same name as the district council” as under the proposed changes they would both cover exactly the same area.

It also believes the Peterborough and North West Cambridgeshire constituencies should be renamed as “Peterborough North” and “Peterborough South & Ramsey”.

It said: “The BCE’s proposed division of that area to create a new ‘Peterborough’ parliamentary constituency and a new ‘North West Cambridgeshire’ parliamentary constituency flies in the face of the fact that the area covered by these two new proposed parliamentary constituencies is basically Peterborough City Council, with just three (smaller) wards from Huntingdonshire District Council to ‘make up the numbers’.

“It makes little sense that the BCE’s proposed new ‘Peterborough’ seat will no longer contain residential areas immediately adjacent to the city centre, whilst the proposed new ‘North West Cambridgeshire’ parliamentary constituency has been so drawn that the overwhelming majority of the electors of that proposed parliamentary constituency do not even live in Cambridgeshire and have not done so since local government reorganisation 20 years ago.

“Rather than clinging onto the remnants of bygone parliamentary constituencies in that area which no longer correspond with local government boundaries, it makes more sense that the size of the electorate in the city of Peterborough be recognised by creating two Peterborough parliamentary constituencies.

“Fenland District Council therefore supports the creation of a ‘Peterborough North’ constituency and a ‘Peterborough South and Ramsey’ constituency, created from the wards of the city of Peterborough together with the three most northerly Huntingdonshire wards already identified for inclusion with Peterborough by the BCE in its initial proposals.”

The idea of having two Peterborough constituencies has been backed recently by former MP for Peterborough Stewart Jackson, who said: “I know how much confusion is caused by half of the city being lumped in with a seat called North West Cambridgeshire.

“There is a reason people in the Ortons, Fletton, Hampton and Stanground think they live in Peterborough: They do.”

He added: “More than 70 per cent of people in the proposed new North West Cambridgeshire seat live in the city area and the rest in Peterborough travel to work areas in Huntingdonshire like Yaxley and Ramsey.

“Voters are getting short changed.

“They have needs associated with city living but continue to be labelled as living in an affluent, rural ‘county’ seat. And when they need help, they frequently and understandably contact the MP for Peterborough, rather than their own.”

Current MPs for Peterborough and North West Cambridgeshire Paul Bristow and Shailesh Vara both declined to comment on whether there should be two Peterborough seats when contacted by the Peterborough Telegraph.