Residents oppose boundary changes

HUNDREDS of residents and a number of authorities have united in their opposition to proposed changes for a Northumberland constituency.

The Boundary Commission’s initial plans for the Hexham Parliamentary seat, currently filled by Guy Opperman MP, would include Ponteland East being transferred into the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency and Rothbury making the opposite switch.

The other main alteration involves Haltwhistle and South Tynedale moving into a newly-created Consett and Barnard Castle constituency.

Mr Opperman is against the idea and there has been a strong response from constituents as 950 representations objections have been lodged.

Ponteland Town Council is among 21 parish and town councils that have protested and supported a counter proposal from the regional Conservative group, which would see changes made further south, but Ponteland East and Rothbury would stay in Hexham and Berwick-upon-Tweed respectively.

Groups representing Labour and the Liberal Democrats in the North East have also urged the Boundary Commission not to go ahead with the changes.

Ponteland Mayor Peter Cowey said: “We were unanimous in our view that all of Ponteland should stay together in one constituency and the number of objections from across the county shows the strength of feeling against the proposals.

“If they went ahead, one side of St Mary’s Church would be in Berwick and the other would be in Hexham, which would be a ridiculous situation.”