Opposition to constituency boundary changes which put Houghton Regis into Luton

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Bedfordshire’s MPs could find themselves with new wards as the consultation into boundary changes opens today.

The county currently has six constituencies, which will remain, although boundaries have been changed to ensure a relatively equal number of voters in each.

Launching its consultation the Boundary Commission for England said while political parties supported the proposal to move Houghton Regis into the Luton North constituency, at a public hearing earlier this year, residents were opposed.

On day one of the public hearing held in Luton earlier this year, Kelvin Hopkins, MP for Luton North, said: “I think we would accept and warmly support what the Boundary Commission has proposed.”

But David Abbott said: “Houghton Regis has almost no cultural or leisure links with Luton, but is more linked with Dunstable” and Dani Casey said: “Houghton Regis is part of Dunstable and we consider ourselves to be Dunstablians”.

“Many residents of Houghton Regis, would closely identify with neighbouring Dunstable, and Eaton Bray as compared to the large almost city like town of Luton”, Sam Duffy told the hearing.

There was also opposition from Caddington, to plans to move it into the proposed Luton South constituency.

Matthew Tomlin said: “I feel as a resident of Caddington … we have more in common with the villages of South West Bedfordshire as we are a rural community.” The Conservative Party drew attention to other representations from Caddington that spoke of the divide between Luton and the ward. These objections were echoed by the Member of Parliament for South West Bedfordshire, Andrew Selous.

While he welcomed the retention of the town of Dunstable in the South West Bedfordshire constituency, he objected to the inclusion of the Caddington ward in Luton South, highlighting the connection of local villages, and schools in particular, with Dunstable.

But the Commission says in its report that the changes “ were logical”.

>The consultation is now open until 11 December 2017.

To find out more and have your say go to https://www.bce2018.org.uk/node/6484