Lewes town council responds to ‘bonkers’ constituency boundary proposals

Lewes Town Council has responded to a consultation on ‘bonkers proposals’ to change the boundaries of parliamentary constituencies in the area.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 9:45 am
The Lewes area. Photo: Google Images

Under the Parliamentary boundary review proposals, which have been put forward by the The Boundary Commission for England (BCE), Upper Dicker and Laughton would become part of Lewes.

Lewes would also gain Upper and Lower Wilingdon from Eastbourne, as well as Stone Cross and Hankham from Bexhill and Battle.

However the constituency would lose Chailey, Plumpton, Ditchling, Newick and Barcombe to the newly created East Grinstead & Uckfield constituency.

In its response to an eight-week consultation on the plans, which closed on Monday, Lewes Town Council said the villages and parishes north west of the town up to the East Sussex County border should be retained in the renamed Lewes County Constituency.

The council argues that Barcombe and Hamsey, East Chiltington and St John, Chailey, Newick, Plumpton, Streat, Ditchling and Westmeston and Wivelsfield all have strong community links with Lewes – the ancient County Town – which have been established over centuries.

“These should be respected,” the council said.

Councillors derided the proposed new boundary – which ‘unhelpfully divides a significant landholding’ and ‘somewhat bizarrely’ also divides several domestic properties, cutting through gardens and even homes.

To balance the numbers of electors in each constituency, the council has suggested that Polegate – which is part of the existing constituency – is transferred to a neighbouring constituency, Eastbourne or Wealden, with more natural community links for the voters of Polegate.

“It was thought that, arguably, Willingdon voters are likely to have the same community links and focus as Polegate, with almost no commonality with Lewes,” the council said.

Populations for these areas suggest a balance would be maintained, as Polegate has a population of 9,000 and Willingdon and Jevington has a population of 7,500, whereas the populations of the villages North West of Lewes total around 9,000 people.