Dear Wealden resident,
BOUNDARY CHANGES: Reuniting Hartfield with Withyham and Crowborough under SUSSEX WEALD
Submissions can be made via their website: www.bcereviews.org.uk
Or in writing to: Boundary Commission for England, 35 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BQ.
Deadline: end of July
The Boundary Commission has made proposals to reorganise parliamentary constituencies so that each MP represents a roughly similar number of voters, making Parliament fairer. Wealden constituency is currently one of the largest and under the proposals it is being reduced in size. Despite the inevitable disruption this change will bring about, I support the idea of equalising constituencies and therefore strengthening our democracy in this way.
There is no political advantage to any of these appeals when it comes round to election time. However, given the huge amount of correspondence I am receiving and the unanimous support amongst local communities, there are two campaigns I am taking up on behalf of locals as your MP:
- To return Hartfield and reunite it with Withyham.
- To use the name of SUSSEX WEALD for the proposed seat.
Hartfield and Withyham are one and the same community, emotionally interlinked with deep historical ties and shared heritage of the iconic Ashdown Forest and Winnie-the-Pooh. They are the economic hubs of the Ashdown Forest and they must not be separated from Groombridge, Eridge and the Crowborough area.
As your MP I have worked tirelessly to secure the vaccination clinic in Crowborough and I have personally secured much-needed funding year-on-year to keep the Forest, its Conservators and its Rangers going. I am acutely aware of the cultural links that exist across the two communities, and I fear that the proposed split may create difficulties for a local MP to be as invested in preserving these links and ensuring they thrive for generations to come.
But even then, there’s something in the name of the constituency. The Commission proposes Hailsham and Crowborough, but the local community is unanimous in its view that this falls short of capturing the character of communities in Eridge, Wadhurst, Mayfield and Heathfield, and the spirit of Wealden on the whole, and wants it to be called SUSSEX WEALD.
The origins of “Weald” date back to Anglo-Saxon times and there is precedent for using this name already. The Boundary Commission proposes Weald of Kent for a nearby constituency, so calling ourselves SUSSEX WEALD will balance out the High Weald area and recognise the Sussex part of the Weald.
It makes no sense NOT to call our patch SUSSEX WEALD when the proposed constituency would be the only one that is wholly made up of Wealden District Council. Moreover, our local farms, businesses, charities and magazines all use the terms “Weald” and “Wealden”, and scrapping this name would bring about needless disruption.
GPs/medical centres, village shops, tea rooms, pubs and schools have all taken it upon themselves to start campaigning for these changes already.
If you agree with me and the local community and want to return Hartfield and reunite it with Withyham, and if you want to preserve Wealden’s proud and rich heritage by using the name SUSSEX WEALD, please share your views with the Boundary Commission via the two options above by the end of July.
You can find more information to support your submission by clicking on the "Information Pack" tab on the left hand side at the top of this page.
Member of Parliament for Wealden