Proposed changes to parliamentary boundaries
The Boundary Commission has published its proposals for new parliamentary constituencies and is consulting with the public about this.
These proposals have major implications for the Rio Cross Area.
We already suffer from being at the border between the boroughs of Islington and Hackney (members who live on the west side of Boleyn Road are in Islington and cannot therefore be represented properly by us to Hackney Council).
We also saw our area split in half when the ward boundaries in Hackney were changed, with the northern half of our area now in Shacklewell and the southern half in Dalston. This does not just mean that we have to deal with two sets of councillors and attend two lots of ward meetings, it also means that some of our concerns can be seen as rather marginal compared to the main concerns of people who live in the centre of these wards.
We do not even have a common postcode identity, with members scattered between N16, E8, E5 (and a smattering in N1 and N5).
Yet the area has a distinct social and cultural identity and we are face a lot of common challenges. Indeed you could currently liken our area to the eye of a storm in terms of the multiple planning issues we are having to face. These include the development of Crossrail 2 around Dalston Kingsland station, and the associated threat to heritage buildings in Bradbury Street, the proposed development of Dalston Kingsland shopping centre which could alter the character of Ridley Road Market out of all recognition, the huge new housing developments going up all around us and the impact of the growth of the night-time economy. In the midst of this maelstrom we really need strong and coherent representation for local residents.
Unfortunately the Boundary Commission’s proposals offer the exact opposite. As can be seen from the map below, the proposal is to split the area into an awkward collection of peripheral projections from four – yes FOUR – different parliamentary constituencies.
Most of our area would fall within the scope of the proposed new constituency of Shoreditch and Bethnal Green. But those living north of Sandringham Road would be in Hackney Central. The proposed boundary between Hackney Central (on the east) and Finsbury Park and Stoke Newington (on the west) zigzags wildly across the A10, suggesting that it would be very difficult to develop a coherent approach to any problems relating to the development of businesses along Stoke Newington Road. Meanwhile, those living west of Boleyn Road at the south end of our area would be in Islington.
The proposed constituency boundaries are marked in blue on this map. Below, you can see a proposed amendment (shown in black) that would create simpler and more logical boundaries between the wards (joining up existing straight edges along the line of the Balls Pond Road/Dalston and between Cecilia Road and Rectory Road) that would at least put us all into the same constituency.
The proposed new constituency boundaries in the Dalston area
A possible solution?
This is of course only a suggestion, but it is clearly important that local residents should have their say on this. Consultation on the proposed boundaries is open until December 11th, 2017.
You can find out more by visiting https://www.bce2018.org.uk.