Pinhoe to join Exmouth in new boundary shake-up

Pinhoe is now set to join the newly created ‘East Exeter and Exmouth’ parliamentary constituency instead of Priory ward.

[There are, as yet, no corresponding press reports on the new Honiton constituency. 

In many ways new Honiton provides continuity with the old Tiverton and Honiton, comprising 66% of the voters from the old constituency and 22% of the old Devon East constituency. It will be a rural constituency of market towns, well defined borders, including the coastline from Seaton to Sidmouth.

In contrast the new East Exeter and Exmouth constituency now adds 11% of Exeter voters to the residual 78% of Devon East creating a strange mixture of city and urban dormitory towns with the isolated seaside town of Budleigh Salterton and the AONB to its north looking somewhat isolated. – Owl]

Ollie Heptinstall www.exmouthjournal.co.uk

As part of a shake-up of England’s map for general elections, which aims to give each MP roughly the same number of voters, the Boundary Commission has revised its proposals following a four-week consultation earlier in the year.

It had planned to include Priory as part of a new ‘Exmouth’ constituency but this was met by significant opposition, including from city council leader Phil Bialyk and East Devon MP Simon Jupp.

As a result, Priory is now proposed to stay part of the main Exeter constituency while Pinhoe will join the new seat, which covers parts of Mr Jupp’s existing East Devon constituency as well as some areas of Exeter.

The Boundary Commission had previously intended to call this seat ‘Exmouth’, however following feedback it’s now set to be known as ‘East Exeter and Exmouth’.

A third and final consultation on the new revised constituency proposals is now open until 5 December and the commission will then submit its final recommendations to Parliament next summer.

Explaining why the changes are being made, the commission says it needs to “reduce the high electorate of the existing Exeter constituency,” which is why Priory was initially considered to be moved out.

The current Exeter constituency has an electorate of just over 80,000, higher than between the 69,724 and 77,062 allowed under the new national proposals.

Replacing Pinhoe with Priory would barely make any difference to the numbers. Earlier this year Priory’s electorate was stated as being 6,637 compared to Pinhoe’s total of 6,661.

The commission has revealed this issue was the main reason why changes to the Exeter boundary was the “largest issue in the South West region and one of the largest in England,” with more than 500 written representations received in opposition as well as petitions containing 1,853 names.

Summarising the feedback, they added: “Respondents said that although Pinhoe is a City of Exeter ward, it comprises mostly new development and has ties to the town of Broadclyst and the newer developments in the Cranbrook ward.

“The ward’s inclusion in Exmouth would mean that the three eastern wards of Exeter would all be in the Exmouth constituency.”

Mr Jupp (Conservative) spoke out against Priory being removed from the main Exeter constituency in March, saying: “The Priory ward is categorically part of Exeter city, with residents identifying themselves as living in Exeter.”

He added: “I believe that the historic village of Pinhoe, having been subsumed into the city of Exeter, still retains much of the independence, character, style and connections of nearby wards in the East Devon district, including Broadclyst.”

Cllr Bialyk, the Labour leader of Exeter City Council, echoed Mr Jupp’s remarks at the time. The council last year asked the Boundary Commission to include Pinhoe in the new Exmouth seat instead of Priory.

Reacting to the updated proposal, Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw (Labour) tweeted: “After listening to strong representations from people in Exeter, the Boundary Commission has agreed to keep Burnthouse Lane and the rest of Priory ward in the Exeter parliamentary constituency. Good decision.”

The public are invited to view and comment on the new map at bcereviews.org.uk.

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