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POLITICIANS SLAM BOUNDARY CHANGE
A plan to remove the Worth Valley from Keighley’s parliamentary constituency has been condemned as “illogical”.
It forms part of a national programme of proposals drawn up by the independent Boundary Commission designed to cut the number of seats in Westminster.
The same plan would also see Shipley constituency – which includes Denholme and Cullingworth – divided between Bradford West, Keighley, Bradford Central and East and Guiseley and Yeadon.
The reformed Keighley constituency would acquire the Bingley and Wharfedale wards, which are currently part of Shipley, and Craven which is part of Skipton and Ripon.
A commission recommendation states that the Worth Valley should become part of a new Calder Valley parliamentary seat.
The commission has said some of the new constituencies would cross county or district council boundaries, so even if the Worth Valley moves to Calder Valley it could still be administered by Bradford Council.
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said: “Like many of my colleagues across the parties and across the country, I am a little bemused by some of the decisions taken by the Boundary Commission.
“As someone who grew up in Worth Valley and cut my political teeth there, I find it illogical for it to be lumped in with Calder Valley.
“Worth Valley residents have no particular affinity with Halifax and certainly feel much more closely identified with Keighley.
“However, these are merely initial proposals which mark the beginning of a 12-week consultation period.
“I would therefore ask local residents in Worth Valley and elsewhere in Keighley and Ilkley to take the opportunity to make their feelings known.”
The Worth Valley is represented by three parish and town councils.
Councillor John Huxley, the Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council chairman, said: “I’m not sure I like the sound of this.
“I think our parish fits in comfortably with Keighley constituency, it’s part of the Keighley footprint and it would seem illogical to change that arrangement.
“I wasn’t expecting something as radical as this. In cultural and geographic terms it makes a whole heap of sense for us to be with Keighley.”
Oxenhope Parish Council vice-chairman, Coun Tony Maw, said the proposals for the Worth Valley had also come as a surprise to him.
“I can’t quite see the rationale of putting the Worth Valley in with parts of the Calder Valley when most of our links are with Keighley,” he said.
“It does strike me as odd. Of course there are some links with the Halifax area, in as far as that we’re almost as close to Halifax as we are to Bradford.
“As for what the exact implications for Oxenhope would be, we’ll have to look at that and we will be talking about it as a parish council at some point in the future.
“We need to see what the people of Oxenhope make of this and whether it will make that much of a difference to the parish.”
Keighley town councillor Tony Wright said he feared the Worth Valley could end up being represented by an MP with no real links to the district.
“The population centres in this Calderdale area are mainly based around Elland and Brighouse, which are quite a distance away,” he said. “It wouldn’t be easy to represent a constituency like that - it would be very disparate.”
Under the same national proposals Cullingworth and Denholme would become part of Bradford West constituency, instead of part of Shipley.
Shipley MP Philip Davis said: “I’m bitterly disappointed that the Boundary Commission has decided with its initial proposals to abolish the Shipley constituency.
“Many of my constituents will be unhappy about how they are being carved up and put in other areas where they do not have an affinity with.”