Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Spelman hits out at boundary proposal

MERIDEN MP Caroline Spelman has hit out at moves to radically change her constituency.

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She said the proposed Kenilworth and Dorridge constituency lacks “geographic, cultural and administrative coherence”.

The new constituency would align Knowle and Dorridge with Warwickshire towns and villages to the east rather than Chelmsley Wood to the north of Solihull borough.

Mrs Spelman told The Boundary Commission this went against “decades of work” to link north and south Solihull.

She said: “Meriden wards, together with Bickenhill and Knowle wards are a critical bridge between north and south – and as such really must stay together.”

She said: “For example, Knowle and Hampton are sister parishes, they share one vicar, share one local authority and share one secondary school, unlike Coleshill and Water Orton.”

Feelings are “particularly strong” in Castle Bromwich, she said.

The Conservative MP said: “Local identity counts for a great deal in the West Midlands.That local identity has been instrumental in times of prosperity and is absolutely critical in these times of economic hardship.

“It has its origins in the ways rural communities evolved, urban populations migrated and industrial supply chains developed.

“In short – it matters a lot – and at a time when people are crying out for strong accountability, clear leadership and strong communities, I fear for the human impact of these proposals, as well as the administrative and economic impact.”

She was speaking at a commission public hearing at the Copthorne Hotel, Birmingham on Friday.

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