Boundary changes: Wrekin constituency to go as Shropshire shake-up revealed

Thousands of Shropshire residents could be represented by a different MP in future, after plans to change some of the county's historic boundaries were revealed – including replacing a name that has been an ever-present since 1918.

The changes centre on all of Shropshire's five parliamentary constituencies – North Shropshire, Shrewsbury & Atcham, Telford, The Wrekin, and Ludlow.

Under the Boundary Commission plans, which aim to make sure all constituencies have between 69,724 and 77,062 electors, only Telford sees no significant change.

However, The Wrekin will lose its historic name – tied to the landmark and beauty spot, which has been in place since it was created in 1918 – and will instead become Wellington and Newport.

Shrewsbury & Atcham will become just 'Shrewsbury', while Ludlow becomes 'Ludlow and Bridgnorth'.

The detail of the proposals will see the Ludlow constituency stretching north to take both the Shropshire wards of Burnell and Severn Valley from the existing Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency.

The move is to bring the size of the Shrewsbury electorate down, as it currently stands at over 80,000.

North Shropshire will lose Hodnet and Cheswardine, which will go into the new Wellington and Newport constituency – taking with it the Clive Barracks at Tern Hill, which falls just on the Wellington and Newport side of the new border.

Again the proposal is being made because of the size of the North Shropshire constituency, which is close to 84,000.

A consultation on the proposals will run until August 2.

Planned changes for Mid Wales, which could see significant alterations to the Montgomeryshire constituency, are not expected to be revealed until September at the earliest.

Shrewsbury & Atcham MP, Daniel Kawczynski, said he was "not entirely happy" with the proposals, and would be speaking to other local MPs, and constituency associations before responding officially to the plans.

Discussions

He said: "I am obviously in discussions with local members and fellow MPs in Shropshire about the initial proposals.

"I am very concerned, the fact they have taken Severn Valley and Burnell putting it into Ludlow. We will be in discussions ourselves to see about how we respond to the Boundary Commission on this matter. This is their initial proposal, there is now a period of public consultation and we look forward to taking part in that."

Ludlow MP Philip Dunne said he would be asking local voters their views on the plan.

He said: "I shall be studying the detail closely, but on first reading these plans are a less profound change to the electoral boundaries in Shropshire, compared with previous proposals when the Ludlow Constituency would have been divided in three. I shall also be seeking the views of my constituents, particularly on the proposed change of name."

Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard said that while he welcomed the overall plan for his constituency, he would be asking voters for their thoughts on plans to change the historic name.

He said: "These changes are very welcome. I will be seeking the views of my constituents on the new name, which doesn't really seem to reflect the old or even the new constituency boundaries."

North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson said that while he understood the need for the changes, he would be sad to lose areas like Hodnet and Cheswardine that he has represented for more than 20 years.

Under the proposal he will also no longer represent Clive Barracks, which is home to the Royal Irish Regiment.

He said: "I will be sad to lose them. I have represented them for 24 years but if we are going to even up the constituencies North Shropshire is too big at the moment, so once this was decided as the plan it was inevitable this would be the case.

"I have to be realistic, it is sensible to even up the boundaries and the size of the constituencies."

He added: "There are lots of good people there and 24 years is a long time to represent them, I have tried to help a lot of people over there over the years, but I am not going to fight it – there are no grounds for objecting."

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