What I said to the Boundary Commission

1 November 2016

 Mr Assistant Commissioner,

 My name is Zoe Smith and I live at 107 Derby Road, Abington, Northampton.  I have the privilege of being the Labour Borough Councillor for the Abington ward.

The Abington ward is adjacent to the very middle of the town centre in Northampton and the roads, the building styles, its people move seamlessly in and out of the Castle ward which makes up the town centre.  Abington has a well-developed sense of community with a number of active community groups operating. 

 There are faith groups which organise over the Castle, Abington, Semilong and St James boundaries which themselves have extensive family connections within them.

 The boundary with Castle ward is exceedingly porous as it runs up and down the many residential backstreets of the town.

 It has been quite confusing over a long period of time for local residents to work out who their elected representatives are. 

 The situation that has prevailed with the residents of the Castle ward and the residents of the Abington ward being served by two different Members of Parliament for some forty-two years.  I do believe that this arrangement has been and continues to be a problem for residents and elected representatives alike.  I am hoping that yourself Mr Assistant Commissioner will look closely at this to see if it can be remedied. 

 Having one Member of Parliament to respond to the diverse, individual yet very common needs of residents in Abington, Trinity, Semilong and Castle wards would certainly be a help.  Having the wards of Spencer and King’s Heath included would complete the picture and would create a proper Borough constituency with the whole of the urban core of the Borough residents being placed within it. 

 In an ideal world, the St James ward would be included in this arrangement, but given the restrictions that have been placed on the Boundary Commission this isn’t possible.  However the restriction and impracticality of moving the St James ward does not nullify the need for the other town centre wards being included with the Borough ward. 

 This is what has been missing from the town centre for over forty years. I know that you have a difficult task Mr Assistant Commissioner in deliberating on all this, but I am sure that you will place the needs of local residents first in any decision you make.

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