My presentation to the Boundary Commission about revised parliamentary constituencies

On 17 March, I made a presentation at the Public Hearing held by the Boundary Commission for England (BCE). The hearing was an opportunity for members of the public to comment on the results of the commission’s proposals for new parliamentary constituencies, as part of a ‘second consultation phase’.

I took the opportunity to make what I believe is a very strong case for Queen Edith’s to be moved into the Cambridge city constituency. I know this would be very popular with the vast majority of local residents who have an opinion on the matter.

There is a chance for everyone to make further comments on the proposals at the consultation website. However, this is only open until Monday 4 April 2022, so if you’d like to do so (and every representation helps!), please do. My arguments are below, and you may like to summarise them in your own response. Details on how to do so are at the end. It should only take you a couple of minutes.

As we know, Queen Edith’s has traditionally been the city ward sacrificed to the South Cambridgeshire constituency, to make the numbers work. However, Cambridge has become bigger than ever, and a second ward now has to be moved out. The BCE has proposed that Cherry Hinton joins Queen Edith’s.

My argument is that both Cherry Hinton and Trumpington should be moved out, while Queen Edith’s is moved into the city constituency. I have five main reasons.


The New Constituencies

The existing South Cambridgeshire constituency is the region to the south-west of the city:

In the new proposals, the constituency with the same name is very different from the current one.

So my point number 1 is that the new constituencies are so different from the old ones that it is a reasonable opportunity to significantly change the city wards being placed in South Cambridgeshire.

Trumpington can now be moved

In the past, Trumpington ward extended well into the city (right to the railway station). This is no longer true. Due to city council boundary changes (in prospect on 1 Dec 2020 and since implemented), Trumpington can now be moved to the proposed new South Cambs parliamentary constituency without the previous awkwardness.

Cherry Hinton can now be moved

In the past, Cherry Hinton ward primarily bordered on the South East Cambs constituency, not South Cambs, so it could not be moved out to South Cambs. This is no longer true. It can now be moved to the proposed new South Cambs parliamentary constituency, as it borders the constituency in the same way as the other two wards.

So my point number 2 is that any two of the three wards can now be placed in South Cambridgeshire without any awkwardness.

Queen Edith’s has a better case to be in the city

  1. Queen Edith’s is an extension of the city, with no obvious centre. It has no traditional independent identity as a ‘village’ (the other wards do have this, and are rightly proud of the fact). Queen Edith’s is a combination of suburban infill and the city’s most important employment site
  2. Queen Edith’s has clear open land separation from the new South Cambs constituency
  3. Queen Edith’s contains the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, the largest employment site in Cambridge and the East of England, and also the fastest growing. This is now an integral part of the city which needs to be represented by the city’s MP
  4. Queen Edith’s contains Homerton College, the largest of Cambridge University’s 31 undergraduate colleges. It is one of only two currently outside of the Cambridge constituency and would be welcomed back

So my point number 3 is that whereas Queen Edith’s was previously the least problematic of the three to be placed outside of the Cambridge constituency, it now has the strongest case of the three to remain in the constituency.

Queen Edith’s is closer to the city

The furthest point from the city centre in Trumpington is considerably further away than the other wards. The closest point to the city centre in Cherry Hinton is considerably further away than the other wards.

So my point number 4 is that Queen Edith’s is, overall, closer to the city.

Queen Edith’s is disconnected from South Cambs

Trumpington has a continuous link to Great Shelford and beyond. A substantial part of Cherry Hinton is already in the proposed South Cambs constituency, as the boundary cuts through a built-up area.

Queen Edith’s, however, has no built-up connection to the rest of the South Cambs constituency, being clearly separated by Green Belt land.

So my point number 5 is that only Queen Edith’s has a natural boundary between the ward and the rest of the South Cambs constituency.

Making your own comment

Click here to make your own comment. It’s pretty easy. Click on the green “Make a Comment” button. When a message comes up saying “Click on a location on the map to have your say about that area”, click on the black marker in Queen Edith’s, then say yes to “Are you sure you wish to create a comment for this location?” The subsequent form is fairly self-explanatory.

You can watch my presentation below. I summarise: “For all the reasons above, and accepting that no decision will be popular, if two Cambridge city wards are to be put in the brand new South Cambs constituency, I think I have shown that they should be Trumpington and Cherry Hinton.”

3 Replies to “My presentation to the Boundary Commission about revised parliamentary constituencies”

  1. Chris Rand, who has studied these issues for many years, is absolutely right on all counts. Queen Edith’s is an intergral part of the City of Cambridge, lying within the city boundary, and leaving it out is an absurd anomaly. The case for moving Trumpington is far stronger.

    It would also be unfortunate if the vast and growing Addenbrooke’s campus and Homerton College are not part of the city they serve.

  2. In my last submission I should have said more about why Queen Edith ward is so important to the City of Cambridge. First, the City suppies all our services, including bin colletion; and second, the huge problems the city faces, not least the council housing shortage and the number of chilren being raised in poverty in places like West Chesterton and King’s Hedges, mean that it is absolutely dependent on the income it currently receives the major employers on the Addenbrooke’s campus, and Hometon College. If those are removed – simply to balance the numbers of voters in the parliamentary wards (itself now much less relevant than it was) – then how will the existing arrangements be undone and reworked, and at what cost of time and money? It just doesn’t add up!

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