Being a Member of Parliament involves building strong working relationships and friendships with people in many different walks of life and places. It also means developing a real identity with those places. Now, for me and my constituents, two separate but important things are happening. I’m referring to two consultations that have just begun - one on the local development plan and a second on Parliamentary boundaries.

The local development plan will settle a host of big questions for local people, above all where the homes will go for a growing and aging population, and where they will find jobs. It’s vital that people with views express them now, during the many local events planned by the three councils of South Worcestershire, or in writing to the planners.

The second consultation will also have big local consequences. I was surprised to learn that my Mid Worcestershire constituency could be split in three. The Boundary Commission has proposed that Fernhill Heath, Cutnall Green, Ombersley and Hartlebury should go into a new Malvern and Ledbury seat, while Droitwich and the area around Wychbold should join Bromsgrove and Droitwich. The bulk of my seat goes into a new one called Evesham.

The reason for all this change is a good one – we are reducing the size of Parliament by fifty seats and equalising the number of voters in the remaining six hundred. This will reduce the cost of politics, give the same value to everyone’s vote and keep the number of voters to a manageable size, maintaining the all-important link between people and their MP.

To make all this possible, a seat had to go in our part of the world. So dramatic changes to many seats in Worcestershire were always on the cards.

After so many years representing the people to the north of Worcester, it comes as a real disappointment to be faced with the prospect of that coming to an end. But there’s a lot of work to be done by the Boundary Commission as it refines its proposals, so we shouldn’t make any assumptions yet.

And in that spirit, as your MP, I urge you all to take a real interest in the consultations on the local development plan. The Fernhill Heath event is on October 15th with one in Tibberton on 10th November. Put the date in your diary now and get involved – what you say could have big consequences for the way your community looks in a few years’ time.


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