The boundary commission are currently consulting on the shape of future parliamentary constituencies, in a process titled the ‘2023 Review’ (as it will finally report in 2023). Members of Stroud District Green Party have discussed the proposed changes to the Stroud Constituency, and prepared the following response.
- Stroud District Green Party (SDGP) strongly believes that constituencies should be based as far as possible on natural similarity of area and existing community connections. The current proposed Cotswold Constituency completely fails in this regard, linking together a vast sprawling area of communities with no historic or current connections or similarity of geography. Numbers have trumped common sense which is not acceptable.
- SDGP therefore strongly object to the inclusion of Bisley, Chalford, Hardwicke, Minchinhampton and Painswick with Upton Wards in the Cotswold Constituency. All of these communities have important current links to the Greater Stroud area and associated services of health facilities, transport hubs, schools, college, retail, leisure and District Council facilities (or to Gloucester e.g. in the case of the Parishes of Upton St Leonards, Hardwicke and Hunts Grove). It makes no sense to remove them from the Stroud Constituency which they are an integral part of and to include them in a Cotswold Constituency to which they have few or any connections. A Cotswold wide MP would have very little understanding of the very different Stroud communities with their different histories, valley topography and service connections. They are all intrinsically linked to the ‘Five Valleys’ that make-up Stroud.
- SDGP consider it appropriate that Wotton-under Edge and Kingswood Wards are included in the Stroud Constituency as in the current proposals. They are part of Stroud District and look towards Stroud for services as well as other service centres in the Stroud Constituency including their neighbouring towns of Cam and Dursley.
- SDGP recognises that in order to follow natural and community divisions, the use of ward boundaries in some rural areas has insufficient granularity. We therefore recommend the option in specific circumstances of crossing ward boundaries and using either parish or polling district boundaries. In this context Standish and Painswick Parishes have a stronger connection to Stroud than some other parts of the wards they are in.