PROPOSED changes to constituency boundaries in Darlington have sparked numerous objections from residents.

The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) is redrawing parliamentary boundaries to make sure each constituency has between 64,724 and 77,062 voters.

However, if approved next year, the current proposals will mean villages on the outskirts of Darlington will move into a new ward called Stockton West.

It is proposed areas including Hurworth, Middleton St George and Sadberge, currently part of Sedgefield constituency, move to Stockton West, while areas like Heighington and Coniscliffe will move into Darlington constituency.

The Northern Echo: A map of the proposed new constituency boundaries around Darlington. Picture: Boundary Commission England.A map of the proposed new constituency boundaries around Darlington. Picture: Boundary Commission England.

One resident wrote on the BCE's website: "My postcode is a Darlington postcode NOT a Stockton one, why confuse it and us in relation to a constituency? Why?"

Another said: "The village of Hurworth identifies much more with Darlington than Stockton."

Read more: Hurworth near Darlington could become part of Stockton in shake up

Councillor Lorraine Tostevin, who represents Hurworth, wrote: "The residents along with the parish councils of Hurworth and Neasham strongly object to these proposals.

"The residents of Hurworth identify only with the constituency of Darlington as this is the local authority area to which they pay their council tax and receive all their local community services.

"It is the name of the borough in which they live, shop, spend their leisure time, send their children to school and for a large part also work.

The Northern Echo: Cllr Lorraine Tostevin. Picture: Northern Echo.Cllr Lorraine Tostevin. Picture: Northern Echo.

"The residents of Hurworth feel that for the last 30 years their voices have not been heard and that they have been treated with indifference under the existing boundaries and clearly this needs to change.

"For this review to be meaningful it needs to focus on the real lives of the constituents and not just on line boundaries and parameters set by the commission."

A parish council response said it was "inappropriate" to bring Hurworth into the Stockton West constituency.

Peter Gibson MP wrote: "As the Member of Parliament for Darlington I support the observation that the Darlington constituency is of insufficient size, and support the proposal to include the Heighington and Coniscliffe ward."

The Northern Echo: Peter Gibson MP. Picture: Northern Echo.Peter Gibson MP. Picture: Northern Echo.

Cllr Pauline Culley said the South Durham Conservative Association supported the proposed Newton Aycliffe and Sedgefield constituency, adding Coxhoe to it and adding Heighington and Coniscliffe to Darlington.

She added: "If the two remaining Darlington local authority wards cannot be kept as part of the Darlington constituency, we support including them in the Stockton South constituency."

The Northern Echo: Cllr Pauline Culley. Picture: Andy Lamb.Cllr Pauline Culley. Picture: Andy Lamb.

A Sadberge resident said: "Sadberge is much closer to Darlington and is more affiliated to it. There is little connectivity to Stockton at all.

"Sadberge does not want to be, or need to be, another outlying garden estate of a conurbation with a contradictory ethos."

A Middleton St George resident wrote: "I have lived in this area for almost 50 years and in that time we have been gerrymandered 3 times. 1. Darlington. 2. Bishop Auckland. 3. Sedgefield.

"In all that time, with the exception of living in the Darlington constituency, we have never seen or been helped by our MP. Be it Labour or Conservative.

"Yet once more here we are again about to be pushed into yet another constituency that means nothing to us. Once again we are on the perimeter of some God-forsaken new constituency."

Read more: Fury over plans to change boundaries in Durham and Darlington

The East and West Newbiggin Parish Meeting said: "East and West Newbiggin residents object to these proposals.

"They wish to feel a valued part of the Darlington community and this cannot be achieved if they are moved to the constituency of Stockton West.

"The residents of East and West Newbiggin feel that for the last 30 years their voices have not been heard.

"The review should be based on the wishes of the electorate and not simply an excercise based on numbers."

Some expressed support for the proposals.

One commenter said: "In general, I agree with the proposals put forward by the commission, however I feel that Darlington should include Hurworth at the very least and Middleton St George if possible, rather than including Heighington and Coniscliffe."

Another applauded the proposed name for the Newton Aycliffe and Sedgefield constituency "which honours the endeavours and growth achieved by the people of the Newton Aycliffe area".

Read more: Parts of County Durham could be merged into Bishop and Sedgefield

Other respondents said:

  • "An absolute ridiculous decision, we presently vote in an area which we have no connection to and you are proposing moving us to another";
  • "I wholeheartedly disagree... we will have an MP based further away from their constituency";
  • "I could never really understand why we were in Sedgefield constituency and to now change and move us to Stockton just does not make sense";
  • "This doesn't make sense... we should be in Darlington... we have no say or activity with Stockton at all";
  • "We should be in Darlington, we pay council tax to Darlington and we have always been considered part of Darlington";
  • "THE BOUNDARIES SHOULD BE KEPT AS THEY ARE... this ridiculous idea should be stopped immediately";
  • "Please can we just not have this divot and have School Aycliffe in one constituency or the other. It’s just silly";
  • "I am pleased that Coatham Mundeville is finally being included in Darlington constituency";
  • "It's bureaucratic stupidity";
  • "It's just to make sure the Tories win more seats."


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