Commission criticised over consultation website

By Ross Findon

Published on Wednesday, March 07, 2012 - 13:15


Commission criticised over consultation website

THE RELEASE of public responses to Boundary Commission plans to split the Isle of Wight into two constituencies has been criticised by Island MP Andrew Turner.

The public responses to Boundary Commission proposals to carve up the Isle of Wight into two were published online on a specially created website yesterday (Tuesday), inviting people to comment on the representations.

Mr Turner told the County Press the way the information was presented was flawed, as it did not allow users to search for responses specific to the Isle of Wight.

He said: "This four week consultation period is supposed to be for people to comment on the representations which have been received.

"But it will take you four weeks to read the 5,000 plus responses that have been submitted for the south east.

"People on the Isle of Wight are unlikely to want to comment on what is happening in Buckinghamshire and Kent.

"I am writing to the commission to point this out and am copying it to the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, who is responsible for the Boundary Commission."

He added said the website gave the views of political parties undue prominence, when it was the public views that were more important.

Under the Boundary Commission proposals, originally announced in September, last year, the Isle of Wight faces a north-south divide, creating an Isle of Wight North and an Isle of Wight South.

That split has been supported by Labour and the Conservatives, however in their response Lib-Dems said the split should be east to west.

Isle of Wight North would be geographically smaller but would include the urban areas of Cowes, Newport and Ryde.

It would also contain East Cowes, Gurnard, Northwood, Parkhurst, Whippingham and Osborne, Wootton Bridge, Binstead and Fishbourne and Seaview and Nettlestone.

The rest of the Island, including Carisbrooke, which would be split from Newport, would form a new rural seat called Isle of Wight South extending from The Needles in the west to Bembridge in the east.

The boundary follows the line which divided the former local authorities of Medina and South Wight Borough Council before a local government re-organisation scrapped the district councils.

The number of voters in each division would be around the same, with 56,253 in the north and 54,671 in the south.

The Conservatives support a North-South divide but the Liberal Democrats are calling for an East-West split.

Both the Tories and Labour do not agree with the proposal to divide the Havenstreet, Ashey and Haylands ward from Ryde. They want to see the ward united with Ryde in the Isle of Wight North seat.

They also propose the inclusion of Nettlestone and Seaview ward, which has ties with St Helens and Bembridge ward, in the Isle of Wight South constituency.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats support an East-West split, thereby ensuring no town, village or natural community is split between two seats.

Thousands of responses were submitted to the commission and are available to read online at the Boundary Commission webpage.

The final proposals are scheduled to be put to parliament in October, 2013.


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