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Fears over 'lost identity' concerns voiced over radical boundary shake-up.

Byline: MIKE BROWN mike.brown@trinitymirror.com @MIKEBROWNGAZ

MIDDLESBROUGH will "lose its identity" under radical changes to MP constituency boundaries, councillors claim.

The political map for Teesside will be redrawn under proposals from the Boundary Commission for England (BCE).

The significant changes include one constituency straddling the River Tees, and the boroughs of both Middlesbrough and Stockton divided between three constituencies each.

And Middlesbrough Council believes this could lead to the town getting lost in the shuffle when MP candidates set their priorities - and that Middlesbrough's status as the "central district for Teesside" wouldn't be reflected.

A report to a council committee found councillors had the following concerns: |Middlesbrough would lose its identity; |Middlesbrough would be the minority authority for each of the constituencies and therefore may not be the focus for any one of the Parliamentary candidates; |Middlesbrough is the central district for Teesside - new constituencies don't reflect this; |The public may become very confused; |The Middlesbrough and Stockton South constituency would see two town centres, and | Councillors also asked how increases in the electorate in areas with large housing developments will affect the planned changes.

When the changes were announced, the commission said it did investigate "whether alternative constituencies could be formulated that did not include parts of both Middlesbrough and Stockton in the same constituency".

"However, we consider that in order to have an electorate that is within 5% of the electoral quota, we have needed to propose a constituency of Middlesbrough West and Stockton East that crosses the boundaries of the unitary authorities of Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees," said the BCE.

Teesside will see its six current constituencies reduce to five, with Hartlepool and Billingham put together and half of Stockton moved into a new seat with Middlesbrough.

In England, all but 68 of the current 533 constituencies will see some change with 33 being abolished entirely, with the aim of ensuring that each constituency has broadly similar populations.

The BCE final proposals are due in October 2018 for use in the General Election scheduled for May 2020.

The new constituencies: MIDDLESBROUGH WEST AND STOCKTON EAST This retains eight wards from the existing Middlesbrough constituency and seven from Stockton South, including Stockton Town Centre ward, from the existing Stockton South constituency. Thornaby and Ingleby Barwick will also be gobbled up by the new constituency.

MIDDLESBROUGH NORTH EAST AND REDCAR The constituency retains 11 wards from the existing Redcar constituency and now includes six wards from the existing Middlesbrough constituency. MIDDLESBROUGH SOUTH AND EAST CLEVELAND The constituency keeps 13 wards from the existing constituency, loses the Stainton and Thornton, and Hemlington wards to the proposed Middlesbrough West and Stockton East constituency, and the divided Ladgate ward to the proposed Middlesbrough North East and Redcar constituency.

In addition three wards are added from the existing Redcar constituency. STOCKTON WEST The new constituency retains seven wards from the existing Stockton South constituency and receives eight from Stockton North.

HARTLEPOOL AND BILLINGHAM This constituency retains eight wards from the existing Hartlepool constituency, but proposals would see four from the existing Stockton North constituency including the town of Billingham included.
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 29, 2016
Words:518
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