10 September 2021

Electoral Boundary Changes Proposed

By Gary Thornton

The Boundary Commission has published its initial proposals for changes to Parliamentary constituency boundaries which will be effective from 1 July 2023.

For the UK as whole, the total number of constituencies will remain at 650, with 10 additional seats in England compensated for by a reduction in the seats available to Wales and Scotland.

London will have 75 seats instead of 73. With some exceptions, the size of each electorate must be between 70,000 and 77,000.

For the Forest Hill area, the proposed boundary changes are significant. Currently SE23 falls into two constituencies. Lewisham West & Penge (which includes Sydenham, Crystal Palace, Clock House and Beckenham Hill), serves most of the area, with Lewisham, Deptford (which extends to the river just below Surrey Quays) taking in the roads north of the South Circular and west of the railway line.
 
Under the Commission’s proposals, Lewisham, Deptford will be renamed Deptford, and retain most of its existing boundaries, losing only Hither Green to Lewisham East.

The majority of SE23, however, will fall within a new Dulwich & Sydenham constituency. The southern boundary retains Beckenham Hill but will run further north from Lower Sydenham to Gipsy Hill, following the border of Lewisham Borough. The constituency will then be shared by Southwark council, rather than Bromley.

The western boundary (currently marked by Sydenham Woods) will be extended to include all of Dulwich as far as Herne Hill. The Bromley side of the existing Lewisham West & Penge constituency will become part of Beckenham, and those currently in Dulwich & West Norwood will fall under a new Norwood constituency.

In terms of voter demographics, and based on the last general election results, the proposals are unlikely to change the local political map. All constituencies in the area — Lewisham Deptford, Lewisham West & Penge and Dulwich & West Norwood — returned large Labour majorities in 2019, as did Croydon North, which will form a large part of Norwood. The next general election though could see a new MP in Forest Hill, as Ellie Reeves in Lewisham West and Helen Hayes in Dulwich & West Norwood will have only one seat between them.


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