Although the consultation process has been taking place for nearly two years, many people are only now becoming aware that as a result a major change is proposed hereabouts -we are likely to become part of an extensive constituency called ‘Arundel and the South Downs’. Whatever the outcome, it will have no impact on the duties of Chichester District Council (eg bin emptying) and West Sussex County Council (highways maintenance). It will not affect our everyday life.
Every five years the boundaries of parliamentary constituencies are assessed, noting changes in the population and as necessary changing the area of the constituency to take account of this. The Boundary Commissioners are also obliged to take into consideration issues such as local ties, local government boundaries and geography in producing constituencies, as a result of this review, with electorates of between 69,724 and 77,062, 5% either side of the nominal figure. More than 2/3rds of the constituencies in England will experience some change.
Our inclusion in Chichester constituency hasn’t changed since 1974, when we were transferred to it from Horsham. In the past, the boundary change exercise tended to be a bit ‘flexible’ and as a result the electorates of some constituencies are currently well outside the average size. This tighter review aims to address this flexibility, and the initial proposals were published on 8th June 2021. Whilst it proposed us staying in Chichester constituency, half of the Manhood peninsula was allocated to Bognor constituency. There were howls of outrage from south of Chichester. This is probably the reason why the the areas of the three constituencies in the western part of West Sussex were then dramatically redrawn. It should be noted that these three constituencies have electorates on the high side, they being 77,985, 76,974 and 76,765. Only nine voters currently separate Chichester and the Arundel and South Downs constituencies; moving only Harting and Nyewood to Chichester would increase that electorate to over 78,000. Such an increase and change is unlikely to be given consideration, especially as that change would separate us from neighbouring parishes including those in Harting District Council ward. As it is we would remain with the parishes to the east of us that we have long had various associations with.
The Boundary Commission website provides a lot of information, including maps of the proposed constituencies. South East | Boundary Commission for England (independent.gov.uk)
Should you wish to comment you only have until 5th December.