The Boundary Commission has seen common sense | Burnley Council leader Afrasiab Anwar
As many of you will have seen this week the Boundary Commission shared its latest proposals for changes to Parliamentary constituencies.
A pleasant surprise, as it seems common sense has prevailed and plans to create a Burnley and Bacup constituency appear to have been abandoned.
The initial proposals would have seen the existing Burnley constituency extend southwards to include Bacup, Whitworth and Stacksteads. This would have seen the two Burnley wards of Briercliffe and Lanehead become a part of Pendle.
Those of us who live in the borough of Burnley know that this doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, as we do not have an affiliation with Rossendale. The Boundary Commission may also have realised that there is a natural geographical barrier between Burnley and Bacup in the form of a moor, with limited transport links.
The removal of Lanehead from the constituency would have meant that Heasandford Industrial Estate which has historical links with Burnley, is integral to the future growth and success of the borough and home to many of our largest employers, would have become a part of Pendle.
Many Burnley and Rossendale residents objected to these nonsensical proposals, and it is good to see that the Commission has taken the concerns of local communities on board.
As part of the consultation six months ago our residents made it clear that they wanted Burnley and Padiham to be kept together and I for one am pleased that the latest proposals show that the commission has listened.
The latest proposals for Burnley are welcome and sensible changes that would retain the Burnley constituency along its existing boundaries with two additional wards from Pendle making up the required numbers. More importantly, it means the fifteen wards that make up the Borough of Burnley all remain within a Burnley constituency.
Given that the boundary changes are something that can't be avoided, the latest proposals are the best possible scenario we could have wished for. There is a natural link between Burnley and the wards of Reedley and Brierfield. The communities share a close association and the urban boundaries of the wards of Queensgate and Lanehead merge into Brierfield and Reedley providing a natural fit.
There are existing transport links via bus and rail and the two areas are considered very similar from a demographic point of view, with the two local authorities already working collaboratively.
These proposals are much more in line with the 2018 Boundary Commission proposals and appropriately reflect the culture, geography and identity of our local communities.
The public will now have a final opportunity to provide feedback and comment on the revised plans. Once the consultation period ends final recommendations will be drawn up, meaning the next General Election is likely to be contested on the new revised boundaries.