DCSIMG

Isle of Man’s east sees proposed boundaries moved

 

GARFF MHK has welcomed significant changes to the Boundary Review Committee’s proposals for the east of the island.

Dramatic changes to parliamentary boundaries were unveiled in January.

The proposals aim to tackle major discrepancies resulting from the current mixture of one, two and three-seat constituencies with 12 two-seat constituencies, each having about 7,000 residents.

But the proposals for the North and Onchan in particular came in for much criticism.

A geographically large new North constituency would have brought together Michael and Ayre with Maughold, currently in Garff. Meanwhile, the Birch Hill estate in Onchan would have been split between two constituencies.

Now following lobbying by Tynwald members and Commissioners, the Boundary Review Committee has announced it is considering two significant changes.

Maughold will be moved from the proposed North constituency to the East and the whole of Birch Hill will be retained in the Onchan Urban constituency, while most of Howstrake including Lakeside Gardens will be moved from Onchan Urban into the East constituency.

House of Keys Speaker Mr Rodan said: ‘The inclusion of Maughold in the East constituency is very welcome and it makes more sense to substitute Howstrake for Birch Hill.

‘It certainly satisfies my concerns about the loss of Maughold. Howstrake is a geographically large area while Birch Hill is more compact. The East constituency will certainly need two members.’

As originally proposed, the East constituency, without Maughold, would have had a resident population of 6,094. Adding Maughold but substituting Birch Hill for Howstrake will take that number to 6,710. Simply bolting on Maughold but keeping Birch Hill would have taken the resident population to 7,071.

Moving Maughold will take the North constituency’s population from 7,652 to 6,675.

‘It’s still large but it’s better,’ said Mr Rodan. ‘Maughold has a greater affinity with Ramsey than the rural parishes in the west of the island.

Retaining all of Birch Hill in the Onchan constituency also made sense, said Mr Rodan. ‘Birch Hill is in the very heart of the village. It would have been cut off from the rest of Onchan.’

One of the three Onchan MHKs, Peter Karran, said: ‘It’s still a great shame to see any of my constituency lost. I’m glad for Birch Hill to be back in Onchan but disappointed Howstrake is to be lost to the new constituency.

‘The principle of equality of representation throughout the island is an issue that needs to be addressed. The fundamental issue is that constituencies are too small - we need bigger constituencies if we are to have a proper national parliament.’

Under the current system of one, two and three-seat constituencies, the number of voters per MHK varying widely from 49 per cent above the average in Middle to 26 per cent below the average in Glenfaba.

Names of the new constituencies are working titles only.

As far as possible existing parish boundaries have been maintained.

The consultation on the revised constituencies concluded on February 20 and the Boundary Review Committee is now seeking views only on the proposed new changes.

Those affected by the proposed changes are being invited to examine the revised draft maps on the Boundary Review website at http://www.gov.im/cso/brc/ or at the Commissioners’ offices in Maughold, Onchan, Laxey and Lonan.

You can respond by email or letter by a deadline of 5pm on Tuesday April 9.

Responses should be sent to Mrs Ann Craine, secretary to the Boundary Review Committee, Chief Secretary’s Office, 3rd Floor, Government Office, Bucks Road, Douglas, IM1 3PN or by emailing her at {mailto:Ann.Craine@cso.gov.im

 

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