Where could you end up? Anger at Norfolk and Waveney election shake-up
- Credit: Danielle Booden
Major changes mooted in a shake-up of the constituencies of Norfolk and Waveney MPs have sparked anger and calls for a rethink.
Electoral areas are set to be redrawn under the 2023 Boundary Review announced by the Boundary Commission for England – an independent public body which reviews constituencies.
The proposals have moved into their second phase of consultation - and comments submitted during the first phase last year have revealed strong opposition to some of the proposed changes.
The Boundary Commission says changes are needed to make the number of electors in each constituency roughly the same.
Norfolk would still have nine constituencies, but some voters would find themselves moved - and that has not gone down well in all areas.
What would change and what has been the reaction?
Norwich North and South
- Thorpe Hamlet would move from Norwich South to Norwich North.
- Norwich South would gain Old Costessey and Costessey from South Norfolk
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Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North, wrote to the Commission to suggest Drayton South and North, which used to be in her constituency before 2010, be returned to her patch, rather than Thorpe Hamlet becoming part of it.
Ms Smith said: "Thorpe Hamlet is an urban ward, containing important parts of the city centre including the railway station, the historic cathedral and the foot of the castle, and extensive sections of the leisure and night-time economy area.
"These entail very different issues for representation than the rest of the constituency, which is residential with business parks or light industrial areas, and is specifically suburban."
She said Drayton North and South were "more suitable additions".
But Alan Waters, Labour leader of Norwich City Council and Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group on Norfolk County Council, backed the Thorpe Hamlet switch.
Mr Waters said: "The recommendation would assist in linking and bolstering community ties which see common use of the shared public assets, schools, the local environment, and businesses."
Recent city and county elections have seen Thorpe Hamlet elect Green city councillors, while Drayton is traditionally a happy hunting ground for the Conservatives.
North Norfolk / Great Yarmouth
- Hickling and Stalham, would move to Great Yarmouth constituency from North Norfolk
- Fakenham would switch from Broadland to North Norfolk
The proposed changes in North Norfolk have not gone done well - provoking dozens of submissions from the public.
Moving the wards of Hickling and Stalham would mean those settlements, plus places such as Sea Palling, Sutton and Catfield, would switch to Great Yarmouth.
And people in those areas told the Commission they see themselves as part of North Norfolk, rather than Yarmouth.
One respondent stated: "I have lived under North Norfolk all my life and do not wish for this to change because of someone sitting in an office somewhere drawing lines on a map."
Another wrote: "No, thank you, leave us with North Norfolk. We’ve seen Yarmouth."
Duncan Baker, North Norfolk Conservative MP objected, saying his office had been "inundated" with complaints.
He said: "None of the east of my constituency is recognised as Yarmouth, it is North Norfolk and residents are extremely upset by this proposal."
Mid Norfolk / Broadland / South West Norfolk / South Norfolk
- Mid Norfolk would take Easton from South Norfolk
- Mid Norfolk would be extended to the Suffolk border
- Upper Wensum and Lincoln wards would move to Broadland from Mid Norfolk
- Hermitage, Launditch, and Necton would transfer from Mid Norfolk to South West Norfolk
- All Saints & Wayland, Guiltcross and Harling & Heathlands would move from South West Norfolk to Mid Norfolk
- Fakenham would switch from Broadland to North Norfolk
Broadland MP Jerome Mayhew does not support Fakenham moving out of his constituency to North Norfolk.
But a member of the public wrote to welcome that switch, saying: "People in this area feel geographically and culturally closer to North Norfolk than the Norfolk Broads, which is over an hour's drive away."
North West Norfolk
North West Norfolk would be largely unchanged, other than a small number of South West Norfolk wards moving across.
Waveney / Lowestoft
- Bungay and Wainford would swap from Waveney to a new North Suffolk constituency.
- The Waveney constituency would be renamed Lowestoft
Bungay Town Council has put forward a counter proposal - for Bungay to become part of South Norfolk, rather than North Suffolk.
The council said the proposals would "tie us in better with Earsham and Ditchingham whom we already provide with local amenities."
A member of the public wrote: "I'm not fussed about the border, but please don't call it Lowestoft, I'd prefer it being called Waveney or North Suffolk instead."
The fresh round of consultation runs until April 4. People can have their say at www. bcereviews.org.uk