We accept this proposal as a sensible way to achieve the Commission’s objectives. Our communities have changed since the last boundary review. The Elmbridge Liberal Democrats cover two Constituencies, the majority being in the Esher and Walton constituency, and the Weybridge area being in the Runnymede and Weybridge Constituency.
The Esher and Walton Constituency electorate has grown significantly in the last 10 years, from 75,338 people eligible to vote at the time of the 2010 General Election to 81,184 in 2019. So it should be trimmed to stay within the Boundary Commission 2023 criteria which require all constituencies to have an electorate that is no smaller than 69,724 and no larger than 77,062.
As an affluent and desirable area, bordering the capital city, it is no surprise that more and more people want to live in Elmbridge, particularly families and young professionals moving out of London. Our towns feel increasingly more diverse, bustling and urban than a few years ago. This growth has delivered huge economic benefits but it has also increased the pockets of deprivation (significant, but often hidden) within the more urban parts of our constituencies – a factor that will continue to be of concern as we emerge from the pandemic. We are fortunate that we all benefit from the area’s plentiful green, open spaces with an increasingly rural character to the Esher and Walton constituency as you move south towards Cobham.
In these circumstances, we accept the proposals from the Boundary Commission are fair and sensible for a number of reasons:
- We are overdue for a boundary change and have not had one for much longer than many of our London neighbours.
- Esher and Walton constituency retains its name and its identity, while its two landmark towns remain entirely within the new boundaries.
- There is no impact on the area that is served by Elmbridge Borough Council, whose boundaries are not affected by this review and whose ties with local communities remain intact. The elected representative for the new Esher and Walton constituency will still only have one Borough Council with whom to engage within his or her patch. Meanwhile, Cobham and Downside will be on a similar footing to the Weybridge wards, also represented on the Borough Council but proposed to be sitting within a new constituency, Weybridge and Chertsey.
- The alternative – having dividing lines drawn through town centres or suburbs, or for wards that look more to London to be chopped up – is a less desirable outcome, not just for Cobham but also for those more urban communities. The proposed changes do reflect the differences in character of the constituency between north, bordering London, and south with a more rural character.
The Boundary Commission recommendations are available here – www.bcereviews.org.uk/node/6488
We would urge you to have your say and support the proposed changes here –www.bcereviews.org.uk/node/add/informed-representation/6488
The deadline for submissions is 1st August 2021.