Boundary Commission proposals for Cumbria

The independent Boundary Commission has now published proposals for new parliamentary constituencies, and these will be open to public consultation for the next 12 weeks, until 5th December 2011.

The proposals for Cumbria, and consultation arrangements, are given below.
(Paragraph numbers are from the North West proposals document, from which this is an extract.)

Initial proposals for the Cumbria sub-region

88. There are currently six constituencies in this sub-region, none of which has an electorate within 5% of the electoral quota. The electorates of all the existing constituencies in this county are substantially lower than the electoral quota. It was not therefore possible to leave any existing constituency boundary unchanged.

89. As mentioned previously, we propose to allocate five constituencies to this subregion, a reduction of one from the current arrangement. When developing proposals, we noted that our options were limited due both to the large geographical but small electoral size of the wards within the county, and to the national, regional and geographic borders that form the boundaries of much of the county.

We did not therefore find it possible to avoid proposing constituencies in which coastal communities were combined with those some distance inland.

90. In order to increase the size of the electorate of the existing Barrow and Furness constituency, we propose that it is extended eastwards beyond Ulverston to include Grange-over-Sands. We consider that combining these communities, all of which are linked by their proximity to Morecambe Bay and are connected by the Cumbrian Coast Line railway, is preferable to proposing an extension inland beyond the Furness Fells.

We propose that the constituency is renamed Barrow-in-Furness, to reflect the name of the major town within the constituency.

91. Such a configuration in Barrow-in-Furness allows us to propose a constituency to the north that includes the entirety of the Borough of Copeland and extends along the coast from Millom to Harrington. In order to propose a constituency whose electorate falls within 5% of the electoral quota, it is also necessary to propose the inclusion of one Borough of Allerdale ward and the extension of the constituency inland over the Cumbrian Mountains and the Furness Fells to incorporate Windermere and the surrounding area.

92. We propose that the towns of Kendal and Penrith are combined with the towns of Appleby-in-Westmorland, Kirkby Lonsdale, Kirkby Stephen, and Sedbergh in a constituency that extends from the outskirts of Carlisle to the Lancashire border. The M6 provides a strong communication link between the communities within the constituency, which we propose is named Kendal and Penrith.

93. The electorate of the City of Carlisle is such that it is not possible to include all wards within one constituency. However, all but one of the City of Carlisle wards are contained in our proposed Carlisle constituency, which stretches north to the border with Scotland.

94. We considered that the most appropriate City of Carlisle ward to be included in a different constituency, for both geographic and electoral size reasons, was Dalston on the southern outskirts of the city. We therefore propose that Dalston is included with all but one of the Borough of Allerdale wards, which are linked by the A66, and four District of Eden wards to the west of Penrith, in our proposed Workington and Keswick constituency.

How to have your say

95. We are consulting on our initial proposals for a 12-week period, from 13 September 2011 to 5 December 2011. We encourage everyone to use this opportunity to contribute to the design of the new constituencies – the more public views we hear, the more informed our decisions will be when analysing all the views we receive.

96. In particular, we ask people to bear in mind the tight constraints placed on the Commission by the rules set by Parliament, as well as the decisions we have taken regarding adoption of a regional approach and use of local government wards discussed in chapter 2 and in the BCE’s A guide to the 2013 Review. Most importantly:

a. We cannot recommend constituencies that have electorates that are more or less than 5% from the electoral quota (apart from the two covering the Isle of Wight).

b. We are basing our initial proposals on local government ward boundaries (as
at May 2010) as the building blocks of constituencies. Our view is that, in the
absence of exceptional and compelling circumstances, it would not be appropriate
to divide wards in cases where it is possible to construct constituencies
that meet the 5% statutory requirement without doing so.

c. We have constructed constituencies within regions, so as not to cross regional
boundaries. Compelling reasons would need to be given to persuade us that we
should depart from this approach.

97. These issues mean that we encourage people who are making a representation on a specific area to bear in mind the knock-on effects of their proposals. The Commission must look at the recommendations for new constituencies across the whole region (and, indeed, across England). We therefore ask everyone wishing to respond to our consultation to bear in mind the impact of their counter-proposals on neighbouring constituencies, and on those further afield across the region.

How can you give us your views?

98. There are two ways you can give us your views on our initial proposals: in writing (including by email or through the online form on our website), or in person at one of a series of public hearings we are conducting during the consultation period. People are welcome to both attend a hearing and send us a written representation.

Written representations

99. We encourage everyone to make use of our consultation website, at, when contributing to our consultation. The website contains all the Initial proposals, reports and maps, the electorate sizes of every ward, and an online facility where you can have your say on our initial proposals.

100. You can also contribute to our consultation by writing directly to us at: Boundary Commission for England, 35 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BQ. Or email us with your views, at:

If you wish to comment on more than one region, please send your email to

If you wish to write to us directly, we encourage you to follow the structured approach outlined below and on the separate summary sheet, copies of which can be found at your local place of deposit, or downloaded from our website at

101. We encourage everyone, before submitting a representation, to read our
approach to data protection and, in particular, the publication of all representations and personal data within them. This is available at,

or by phoning 020 7276 1102.

Public hearings

102. The Commission will be holding public hearings across all the English regions.

In the North West region we will be hosting five public hearings during the consultation period – the maximum number allowed by the legislation. Our website ( has more details of these hearings, and an opportunity to register to attend and speak.

A table follows which shows the locations and dates of the hearings in the North West region.

The Cumbria session is:

Monday 17th to Tuesday 18th October 2011 (NB NOTE CHANGE OF DATE)
Carlisle Civic Centre,

The purpose of the hearings is for people to have an opportunity to make representations orally to an Assistant Commissioner, who will chair the hearings and subsequently provide the Commission with a report on their findings. The hearings
differ from the way we used to conduct ‘public inquiries’ in past reviews – these were much more judicial in style, with people being allowed to cross-examine each other.

The new legislation that Parliament has introduced specifically rules out such inquiries, specifying instead that we host public hearings. These are intended purely as a way for people to make representations orally, direct to representatives of the Commission, as well as to provide an opportunity for the Commission
to explain its proposals.

104. It is important to stress that all representations, whether they have been submitted through the online facility on our website, made in person at a hearing or sent to us in writing or by email, will be given equal consideration by the Commission. Therefore it does not matter if you are unable to attend or speak at a public hearing – even after the last public hearing in the North West region has been completed on 25 October 2011, you will still have six weeks left to submit your views to us. By statute, time for the public hearings is strictly limited and you may wish to ensure that your full representations about our proposals are made to us in writing.

105. You can find more information about public hearings, and can register to attend, on our website at,
or by phoning 020 7276 1102.

What do we want views on?

106. While you are welcome to write to us on any issue regarding our initial proposals, it would aid our understanding and analysis if you, when contributing, followed the structured approach available on our consultation website at

This structured approach is also outlined below and available in our separate summary leaflet (copies of which are available in places of deposit and on our website). We encourage anyone wishing to contribute to the formation of our final recommendations to follow this approach. The structured approach will also allow us more easily to identify representations on specific areas, or from specific people, during the subsequent four week period of consultation (referred to in
chapter 2).

107. We would particularly like to ask two things of those considering responding to our consultation. First, if you support our proposals, please tell us so, as well as telling us where you object to them. Past experience suggests that too often people who are happy with our proposals do not respond in support, while those who object to them do respond to make their points. That can give a rather distorted view of the balance of public support or objection to proposals, and those who support our initial proposals may then be disappointed if they are subsequently revised in light of the consultation responses.

Second, if you are considering objecting to our proposals, do please use the resources (maps and electorate figures) available on our website and at the places of deposit to put forward counter-proposals that are in accordance with the rules to which we are working.

108. Specifically, while anyone is welcome to submit views in whatever format, we are looking for views structured around the following questions:

a. Do you agree in full, in part or not at all with our initial proposals for the North West region?

b. Which sub-regions do you agree with, and why?

c. Which sub-regions do you disagree with and why?

d. What are your alternatives for areas you disagree with that meet the statutory rules set out in chapter 2?

109. Above all, however, we encourage everyone to have their say on our initial proposals and, in doing so, to become involved in drawing the map of new Parliamentary constituencies. The more views we get on our initial proposals, the more informed our consideration in developing those proposals will be, and the better we will be able to reflect the public’s views in the final recommendations we present in 2013.


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