DELIGHTED residents have welcomed plans not to change Warwick and Leamington’s parliamentary boundaries.
The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has decided to keep the two towns together, rather than splitting them as had been proposed.
When outraged residents discovered the plans last year they formed a campaign group named 1885 – the last year the two towns were split.
And they were successful in their fight, with 122 representations made to the BCE during the initial consultation by people in Warwick and Leamington. These included businesses, politicians, voluntary groups and residents.
The new plans will see the towns kept together along with rural areas such as Barford and Wasperton.
But unlike the previous proposals, Radford Semele and Offchurch would fall into a separate boundary classed as Rugby and Southam.
Kenilworth would share a seat with Coventry South.
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western said: “The proposals recognise the fantastic response from the public that urged the commission to retain our towns including Whitnash within the one constituency. It is testimony to the many that wrote or spoke to the commissioner in making the case for our continued existence as a political entity.
“We are economically, politically and socially bound as one and it is vital that we remain so.
“Some of the proposals are questionable, such as the suggestion to exclude Radford Semele from our constituency despite it being virtually connected to west Leamington, separated merely by the river Leam. It is absolutely linked to the towns.”
And Ben Wesson, founder of the 1885 group, was equally delighted the two towns will stay together.
He said: “I am delighted the Commission has confirmed its intention to keep Warwick and Leamington as part of one parliamentary constituency.
“We have demonstrated once again that our resolve to keep Warwick and Leamington together is stronger than the civil servants’ desire to tear us apart.
“Thank you to everyone who signed our petitions, filled in the consultation or spoke at the Boundary Commission hearing in Leamington.
“This is a truly great result for our towns.”
The proposals by the BCE are part of a bid to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600.
Representatives from the commission say Warwick and Leamington should stay together due to the high number of responses they received.
And Kenilworth should share a seat with Coventry South to keep all of Warwick University campus together.
Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright said: “The principle that Parliamentary constituencies should be of approximately the same size is the right one.
“Carrying out a boundary review to implement that principle involves inevitable change and disruption. I
“ support the principle and it wouldn’t be right for me to object to proposals which enact it simply because they inconvenience or disadvantage me. I have been honoured to represent the constituency of Kenilworth and Southam since 2010 and, if these proposals are implemented, I hope for the sake of my constituents that the situation then remains stable for the foreseeable future.
“There will be further consultation on these proposals before final conclusions are reached and it is far too soon for decisions on which seats I may or may not seek election in.”
The consultation is re-opened until December 11. Visit www.bce2018.org.uk to find out more.