PROPOSALS to unite a lossmaking airport into one parliamentary constituency have been suggested at a boundary changes review meeting.

Several members of the Conservative Party, including councillors and MP James Wharton, want the whole of Durham Tees Valley Airport to be included in one constituency.

Their suggestion was mooted as a change to the Boundary Commission’s proposal for the Stockton South constituency.

Local people want to link similar communities and focus on natural, geographical and transport ties.

The proposed amendments to the commission’s review of the country’s parliamentary constituencies were raised at a two-day hearing at the St George Hotel, near Darlington.

Mr Wharton, MP for Stockton South, said the commission’s proposals would split the Stockton South constituency across four unitary authorities.

He said: “It would be difficult to represent local people when they raise issues if it is in a constituency covering four distinct unitary authorities.

It would be highly unusual and detrimental.

“This is an opportunity not only to link like villages but, in economic terms, unite the airport when there are a number of challenges facing its future.”

Amendments to the Boundary Commission proposals suggest that Stockton South should include Stockton town centre, Yarm, Ingleby Barwick, Eaglescliffe, Hartburn, and Middleton St George and Sadberge. A new Sedgefield and Billingham constituency would include Norton, Aycliffe and Sedgefield, as well as unite all five wards in Billingham.

Blackhall would be included in Hartlepool, instead of the Boundary Commission's suggestion of Stockton council ward Billingham North.

Shildon would also remain in Bishop Auckland.

Durham county councillor Richard Bell said combining Yarm – once a seaport – with the Fifties new town of Newton Aycliffe, built to support old mining communities, would be as “different as chalk and coal”.

He said: “The underperforming Durham Tees Valley Airport needs the clarity and focus that one MP can provide.”

Another amendment was that Deerness Valley and Ferryhill should remain in their current constituencies, an amendment supported by several parish councillors and residents at the review.

George Wharton, whose family have lived in the area since his great-grandfather settled there, said: “The people of Deerness Valley have a great affinity for the city of Durham. It means a great deal to them. It is our city. It is our home.

“We want to stay there to continue to shape its future by voting for its future members of parliament.”

Bishop Auckland Labour MP Helen Goodman spoke about the proposed Barnard Castle and Consett constituency.

She said her Bishop Auckland consituency should remain largely unchanged, but should include Chilton.

She said: “From Barnard Castle to Consett by public transport takes two and-a-half to three hours. It would mean a day trip to travel between the two. That is simply unacceptable.”

Councillor Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, said there was no support for the proposed Barnard Castle and Consett constituency.

Both Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson and his Labour counterpart, Alex Cunningham, who represents Stockton North, detailed similar counter proposals to the commission’s proposed Sedgefield and Yarm consitutency – spanning the River Tees, from Shildon to Yarm and Ingleby Barwick.

Final recommendations are due to be made to the Government by October 2013.