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Andrew Mitchell MP discusses boundary changes with local residents at Walmley Community Hall

Andrew Mitchell MP has addressed a meeting at Walmley Community Hall to discuss the independent Boundary Commission for England’s initial proposals for changes to the Sutton Coldfield constituency boundaries. These are currently under public consultation until 5 December 2011.

The meeting was attended by approximately 70 local residents including New Hall Ward Councillors – David Barrie, James Bird and Dennis Birbeck – who are working hard to inform local residents of the changes and what they will mean for New Hall Ward.

Sutton’s MP urged individuals to make their views clear to the Boundary Commission by responding to their public consultation either by letter, email or in person at one of the public hearings. He stressed that petitions such as those currently being circulated by Labour Party campaigners would carry no weight with the Boundary Commission who have said that only individual representations will be considered as part of the consultation. Andrew also encouraged as many people as possible to attend the Boundary Commission’s Public Hearing on Thursday 3 & Friday 4 November at Birmingham’s Copthorne Hotel.

Mr Mitchell took the opportunity to dispel various mistruths that have been spread, saying: “The boundary changes only relate to Parliamentary constituencies. Local services, school catchment areas and council tax charges are set by Birmingham City Council which will remain the local authority and therefore these will not be affected. Addresses and postcodes will also go unchanged so insurance premium calculations will remain the same.

“I very much regret the Boundary Commission’s preliminary decision to alter Sutton Coldfield’s boundaries for General Elections. Over the past 11 years I have built up many friendships working closely throughout New Hall and if these changes go ahead I would be very sad to see this part of Sutton removed from our constituency.

“I am a player on the pitch in all of this and the Boundary Commission is the referee. I therefore urge anyone who wishes to comment either way to make their views known to the Commission as part of the public consultation so that its final decision is an informed one.

“The Boundary Commission is obliged to give equal weight to all views and the system is, therefore, different from previous boundary reviews. Additional weight is attached by the Commission to those comments which suggest alternatives rather than outright objection.

“It is important to recognise that this Review is about ensuring fairer votes across the UK as well as reducing the cost of politics, in order to achieve this the Boundary Commission is having to make difficult decisions across the country.

“Sutton Coldfield will always be a Royal Town whatever the constituency boundaries and together with our Councillors I will be continuing the campaign to have that rightful status restored.”

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