Council to debate and vote on proposal that would carve up Hucknall
Potential changes to political boundaries that could see Hucknall split across two constituencies are due to be debated and voted on by Ashfield District Council tonight (Thursday).
The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) is consulting on proposals for new Parliamentary constituencies.
Under current proposals, all of Hucknall would remain part of the Sherwood constituency but under alternative proposals, Hucknall West could become part of the new Ashfield constituency, were councillors and then the BCE to approve them.
Papers for the meeting, seen by the Dispatch, say: “As the bypass in Hucknall provides for a natural divide between Hucknall West and the remaining wards of Hucknall, placing Hucknall West into the Ashfield constituency would not divide a community or cause electors confusion."
Were councillors to vote in favour of this proposal, and it be approved by the BCE, it would see Hucknall West constituents have a different MP to the rest of the town.
However, the alternative plans have already been opposed by the likes of current town MP Mark Spencer and Ashfield Labour councillors.
Mr Spencer (Con) said: “This is absolutely typical of the Ashfield Independents, first they ignore Hucknall for years, then claim that it is being split up and sold off to the city, all of which was absolutely false.
"Now they are the ones seeking to divide the community, by drawing a big red line straight down the middle.
“We have to fight to keep Hucknall together, we cannot have our town broken up by the Ashfield Independents.”
Labour councillors Keir Morrison and Lauren Mitchell, who both represent Hucknall South, have also said they will both vote against the proposal.
On the Hucknall Labour website, Coun Mitchell said: “It is my belief that Hucknall should always be kept together and not split up – something Hucknall Labour has argued for over a number of years through our ‘Keep Hucknall Unique’ and ‘Hands Off Hucknall’ campaigns.”
Coun Jason Zadrozny, council leader, said: “The Conservatives are currently holding a boundary review in a gerrymandering-style attempt to increase their already large majority.
"As part of this process each council, indeed anybody is invited to take part in the consultation.
"The proposals are at the first stage and I must make it clear that they are being submitted to start a conversation.
"Any decision will not be made for two years and in that time there will several public consultations and public hearings which the Government has to do to satisfy the Representations of the People’s Act.
“We have held cross-party meetings and that is where the initial proposal came from.
"The bypass provides a natural divide between Hucknall West and the rest of Hucknall.
"The initial proposal suggests that 4,500 houses in Mansfield, that the Government wants to move into Ashfield, stay in Mansfield.
"Not doing so would split a community whereas the proposal to move Hucknall West into Ashfield makes perfect sense.
"This is a proposal that has the support of senior council members and officers at Mansfield District Council.
“Government proposals for our areas would also be less equal.
"Moving Hucknall West into Ashfield would be more equal.
"I suspect that voters in Hucknall West would be pleased to see their area moved as the service they have received is less than a Rolls Royce from Mark Spencer.”