Ribble Valley Council to ask boundary commission to reconsider proposed constituency carve-up

Ribble Valley Council is to ask the Boundary Commission to reconsider plans to carve up the constituency.

And residents in Ribble Valley have until December 5 to make their views known on the proposed constituency boundary changes that will lump Clitheroe and villages in the east of the borough with Nelson and Colne an hour-and-a-half bus journey away.

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The rest of the Ribble Valley will acquire chunks of Preston and South Ribble to make up the numbers, but be left without an obvious administrative centre.

The latest proposals effectively split Ribble Valley in two

The commission published initial proposals last year that left the Ribble Valley constituency largely intact, minus the three wards of Billington and Langho; East Whalley, Read and Simonstone; and Whalley and Painter Wood, which were moved into a new-look Hyndburn.

But a special meeting of the council’s policy and finance committee heard the latest proposals effectively split Ribble Valley in two, leaving one half in no man’s land, without an obvious administrative centre, and the other separated from Nelson and Colne by the 1,827ft Pendle Hill.

Ribble Valley Borough Council leader Stephen Atkinson said: “These new boundaries simply do not make sense. They leave what is almost a mountain between Clitheroe and Nelson, the two main towns of the proposed Pendle and Clitheroe constituency, with an hour-and-a-half bus journey between them.

“Clitheroe is the administrative centre of Ribble Valley and the surrounding villages naturally look towards it as the economic and cultural heart of the borough.

“It is the home of Ribble Valley Borough Council, which should remain at the centre of the parliamentary constituency.

“We believe that the constituency of Ribble Valley should reflect the borough boundaries and these proposals need a significant rethink.”

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The committee decided to reject the latest proposal and ask the Boundary Commission to reconsider its initial proposal, which would see Billington and Langho; East Whalley, Read and Simonstone; and Whalley and Painter Wood moved into Hyndburn.

But if the latest proposal must be accepted committee will ask the commission to move the two wards of Whalley and Painter Wood, and Chatburn, back into the Ribble Valley constituency and Bamber Bridge East into South Ribble.

A final public consultation on the proposed new boundaries is open until December 5 and Ribble Valley residents are being urged to have their say at bcereviews.org.uk.