Boundary Commission proposes to split Newhaven between two parliamentary constituencies

Did you know that the Boundary Commission for England is proposing to split Newhaven between two parliamentary constituencies?

To have your say on this proposal please click on this link.

Newhaven Town Council has objected to these plans as follows:

Newhaven Town Council strongly objects to the arbitrary division of the town of Newhaven between two constituencies as this proposal completely ignores our community ties and the geography of our location.

The proposed Brighton Kemptown and Seahaven constituency has a very different character to that of the proposed Lewes and Uckfield constituency. The former constituency is predominantly coastal in character and is clustered around not only the coast, but also the A259. The Lewes and Uckfield constituency by contrast is predominantly rural.

Whilst Newhaven has historic and geographic links with the county town of Lewes, its character is nonetheless that of a coastal town and a port centred on the A259. The division proposed is artificial and would result in part of the town being in a constituency which does not share its general character. The Valley area of the town is not more rural or less coastal than other parts of the town; it does not have stronger links with Lewes than other parts of the town.

We understand that the need to move part of Newhaven to another constituency has come about because of the proposal to include Woodingdean in the Brighton Kemptown and Seahaven constituency, which has resulted in there being too many electors in the constituency. Whilst we can appreciate that Woodingdean has links with other “Deans” areas of East Brighton, it also has perfectly good links with other areas of Brighton. There seems no good reason why the supposed links between Woodingdean and Rottingdean, Ovingdean and Saltdean should take priority over the clear and strong geographical and community ties between the Valley area of Newhaven and the rest of Newhaven.

It is noted that one of the justifications used by the Boundary Commission for England is that the boundary chosen allows the whole district council Valley ward to be moved and does not require a ward to be split. However, the recent review completed by the Local Government Boundary Commission has in fact changed the district council wards. The proposed constituency boundary within Newhaven now only relates to a county council electoral division, the other boundaries of which are not reflected in the proposed constituencies. The proposal results in the splitting of both of the current district council wards.

It is further noted that another justification mentioned by the Boundary Commission is that the proposal was publicly aired at a public hearing in Brighton – and this is regarded as meaning that it has been consulted on. Newhaven Town Council was unaware of this public hearing and indeed has not been formally consulted on these proposals by the Boundary Commission. It is highly unlikely that residents of Newhaven would have been aware of the public hearing mentioned. Arguments about electoral boundaries within the city of Brighton and Hove have largely passed Newhaven by.