UPDATE 17/10/2017 - Wimbledon residents’ victory on boundary proposals
UPDATE 23/03/17 - The next consultation will run from Tuesday 28 February 2017 to Monday 27 March 2017. Click here for more information
In September the Boundary Commission released their initial proposals for the new constituency boundaries. Their goal is to reduce the number of MPs by 50, and make the number of people living in each constituency more equal.
Their proposals for Wimbledon and Merton are hugely disappointing and detrimental to the local area. The Boundary Commission’s own guidelines on community interest and cohesion have simply not been followed.
Wimbledon would be effectively ripped apart, with Wimbledon Park and Village joining the Putney constituency. The remainder of the current Wimbledon constituency would be joined by Colliers Wood, Lavender Fields, Ravensbury and Cricket Green from the current Mitcham and Morden constituency. There are a number of problems with these proposals.
The current Wimbledon Constituency
- The current Wimbledon constituency is remarkably cohesive, in terms of where residents live and travel to in particular for shopping, leisure and transport links.
- This means that the Member of Parliament for Wimbledon is currently able to represent and understand the issues faced by voters, as they are self-contained within the constituency.
- There are a number of different transport links through the width and breadth of the constituency. For example Motspur Park and Raynes Park connect to Wimbledon Town Centre via SW Trains and bus links, Thameslink connects South Merton in Morden, to Wimbledon Chase and Wimbledon Town Centre, the Northern line connects Morden to South Wimbledon and the District line connects Wimbledon Town Centre to Wimbledon Park. There are fewer transport links between the heart of Wimbledon and areas of Mitcham.
- The current Wimbledon constituency contains the vast majority of the “SW19” postcode, the most famous postcode in the world, and the brand of ‘Wimbledon’ itself. Many landmarks across the Wimbledon area contribute to this.
- Residents in Village do not look north to the Putney constituency at all. Instead, residents look down Wimbledon Hill Road to Wimbledon Town Centre, from which the majority of commuters will travel from.
- Most residents in Village ward are physically separated from residents in the current Putney constituency by both the Common and the A3 road.
- The Boundary Commission cite uniting Wimbledon and Putney Common as a good reason to bring Wimbledon Village into Putney. However the Common is enjoyed by residents across both the current Putney and Wimbledon constituencies and is called Wimbledon and Putney Commons. The Common is in fact a barrier between residential zones, not a uniting factor. Furthermore, in order to unite Wimbledon and Putney Commons, the Boundary Commission have split Mitcham Common.
- The current proposals would lead to a completely arbitrary split across the Ridgway, with the north side being in Putney and the south side being in Wimbledon. All residents in this area very strongly identify with the current Wimbledon constituency and have very little interaction with Putney.
Colliers Wood, Lavender Fields, Ravensbury and Cricket Green
- Colliers Wood residents tend to look towards Tooting. There is a significant divide between the residential populations of Abbey/Trinity and Colliers Wood, caused by the River Wandle, the parks alongside it and the shopping units on the boundary.
- Most of the residential areas of these four wards are separated from the rest of Wimbledon by the Deer Park Industrial Estate, Morden Hall Park, and Merantum Way.
- Residents of Lavender Fields, Ravensbury and Cricket Green look to parts of Mitcham as their centre of gravity, and not any part of the existing, or proposed constituency.
- In the previous revised proposals the Boundary Commission were convinced that Mitcham Town Centre should be united, but it is split under the current proposals.
These proposals will make it harder for Members of Parliament locally to work constructively with the local Council, to deliver for residents in the areas that matter most to them and to understand their concerns.
I encourage all residents to closely examine the Boundary Commission's proposals, and to have their say. The Boundary Commission are particularly interested in hearing from affected residents about the local ties that are impacted by these proposals, so if you feel that they do not respect Wimbledon’s community links, please get in touch with them.
You can view the proposals here for your area, just put in your postcode. To respond to the consultation, click “have your say” in the top right and click on the area you wish to comment on. I understand that the website is not the easiest to use, so you can also take part in the consultation by writing to “Boundary Commission for England, 35 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BQ” or emailing email@example.com by the 5th December.
I have also attached for your information a copy of my speech to the Boundary Commission, maps of the proposals and a template letter.