Chairman's Blog - November 2016


The Boundary Commission for England has published its initial proposals to reduce the number of MP’s from 650 to 600, and to average out the number of voters in each Parliamentary seat.  The proposals, as they presently stand, would have major effects on the London Borough of Merton, which would be split into five different constituencies, and result in Councillors and Council officers having to deal with five different MP’s in order to get action on matters that affect local people. We understand that they, as well as both local MP‘s, are very concerned at this prospect, as are we. 

We believe that these proposals are misconceived, and that, so far as possible, constituencies should remain co-terminus with the boundaries of London boroughs (which are not about to be altered). There are also natural boundaries which should be respected, such as the A3, and Morden Hall Park.  

It is very important to keep communities together, so that shopping centres, leisure outlets, and transport hubs, for example, are not divorced from the areas that they serve.  In our own area of Raynes Park and West Barnes, residents have always regarded as their centres Wimbledon and the historic areas of Merton and Morden, and this should be retained.   

The Commission is proposing that the Council wards of Wimbledon Park and Wimbledon Village are taken out of the present Wimbledon constituency to join the current Putney constituency. These wards are integral to the history of Wimbledon, and cover both Wimbledon Common and Wimbledon tennis. They have always looked to Wimbledon as their centre, being divided from Putney by the Common. 

The proposal is to replace them with four wards from Mitcham, being Colliers Wood, Lavender Fields, Ravensbury, and Cricket Green.  These wards have historically looked to Mitcham as their centre of gravity, and not Wimbledon. The rest of Merton would be hived off to three other constituencies.  Lower Morden ward, for example, part of which is covered by our Association, would become part of the Sutton and Cheam constituency.   

Our view is that the best solution to keep the cohesiveness of our area would be to keep the existing Wimbledon constituency and to add on parts of the Mitcham constituency that are in Lower Morden. 

An example of a major issue where it is important to have a unified view across the whole of our area is that of Crossrail 2, where land will need to be safeguarded for ten years or more in Wimbledon, Raynes Park and Motspur Park while decisions are taken as to the re-siting of stations, possible tunnelling and bridges to remove the level crossings, and the number of tracks required.  

The present suggestions would, in our view, result in a cohesive community being irreparably divided, with real consequences for the effective performance of local government. 

These proposals are for consultation, and the Boundary Commission will welcome the views of as many people as possible. You can write to them by 5th December at the Boundary Commission for England, 35, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BQ or e-mail them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can see the proposals in detail for your area online at by putting in your postcode, and clicking on “have your say.” 

Having received these consultations, the Commission will, we understand, publish revised recommendations with a view to making final ones in 2018. The Government has said that it is committed to acting on these before the next fixed election. 

There are four factors which the Commission must take into account when making a constituency with the correct number of voters (which is around 70,000 - 76,000). 

Representations are much stronger when referring to one or more of these. These are:- 

1  Special geographical considerations, including size, shape and accessibility;

2.  Local government boundaries;

3.  Boundaries of existing constituencies;

4.  Any local ties that would be broken. 

No local public meetings are planned. But one failure in this process is that Merton Council has done little to bring such important changes to the attention of local residents. We hope that this outline will help to bring these to the attention of our members, so that the response is as wide as possible.    


John Elvidge

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