South Tyneside Tories hit out at Government’s proposed boundary changes

Eddy Russell, chairman of the South Shields Conservative Part

Eddy Russell, chairman of the South Shields Conservative Part

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Conservatives in South Tyneside are hitting out over the Government’s proposed boundary changes.

The Boundary Commission is proposing that the Cleadon & East Boldon and Boldon Colliery wards in Jarrow should be moved to the South Shields Parliamentary constituency and that Simonside and Rekendyke, currently in South Shields, should move into Jarrow.

The ward has always been part of South Shields.

Eddie Russell

However, Eddy Russell, chairman of the South Shields Conservative Party has written a letter of objection to the Commission - urging it to rethink.

He said: “The Simonside and Rekendyke ward has always been part of South Shields and indeed the Frederick Street shopping area was the second busiest to the actual town centre until the clearance of the old properties.

“The South Shields Corporation bus depot is in the ward. It is inarguable that, with its connection to South Shields and its history, it should remain part of the South Shields constituency.

“They’re trying to rip the heartland out of Shields.”

At a recent meeting of the South Tyneside Labour Group of Councillors, the group voted unanimously to recommend that the proposals are amended so that Boldon Colliery remains in Jarrow and Simonside and Rekendyke remains in South Shields.

Simonside and Rekendyke councillors have already launched a petition to retain their ward within South Shields.

Labour Group secretary, Coun Tracey Dixon said: “We can see no logic in splitting strong communities like this. The Boundary Commission proposals would affect over 20,000 residents, other counter proposal, which supports placing Cleadon and East Boldon into South Shields affects just 8,000 people.

“Boldon Colliery has been part of the Jarrow constituency for over 100 years, and has no historical or geographical connection with South Shields. Simonside and Rekendyke has been part of the South Shields constituency since it was created in 1832 and the idea that Chichester should be part of Jarrow is frankly ludicrous.”

The new proposals laid down by Government would see a significant reduction in the number of constituencies in England – from 533 to 501 – and require every constituency to have an electorate that is no smaller than 71,031 and no larger than 78,507.

Maps of the proposed constituencies are already on display at both South Shields and Jarrow Town Halls where people can view them until December 5.

Information on how to respond and when public meetings will be held is at www.bce2018.org.uk