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news, views and issues around Greenwich, Charlton, Blackheath and Woolwich, south-east London – what you won't read in Greenwich Time

Boundary changes could rip up SE London’s political map

with 12 comments

The next MP for Greenwich could have to represent constituents from the fringes of Nunhead to parts of Charlton under projections drawn up by experts at Liverpool University.

With the coalition government aiming to reduce the number of MPs to 600 by the next election, the current Greenwich and Woolwich seat – held by Labour’s Nick Raynsford – could be split up if the predictions by Democratic Audit are correct.

A new Greenwich and Deptford seat would run from the Telegraph Hill ward in Lewisham borough across to Greenwich borough’s Peninsula ward. Essentially, it would mean the current Lewisham Deptford seat, held by Labour’s Joan Ruddock, expands east to take in Greenwich and Blackheath.

But it would see most of Charlton separated from Greenwich, forming part of a new Woolwich constituency which would reach out as far as Shooters Hill and Lee.

Other changes could see an Eltham and Welling seat stretching from Eltham High Street into Bexleyheath, while a Catford seat is projected to run from Lewisham town centre south to Downham.


The projected Greenwich and Deptford seat would include the Peninsula, Blackheath Westcombe and Greenwich West wards from Greenwich borough, and combine them with Lewisham’s New Cross, Evelyn, Telegraph Hill, Brockley and Blackheath wards. It would combine parts of the current Greenwich and Woolwich, Lewisham East and Lewisham Deptford seats.

It would unite the divided areas of Blackheath and Deptford under a single MP – the two areas have been split politically since Victorian times, although much more of Deptford came under Greenwich borough until the 1990s. But there are few transport links between the east and west of the predicted seat. Both Greenwich and Lewisham boroughs also have very different political cultures.

Splitting Brockley and Ladywell wards would probably kill off the Green Party’s long-held dreams of getting its first London MP in this area. Curiously, this seat would include Millwall Football Club, but stop just short of Charlton Athletic.

A Woolwich seat would be composed of Greenwich borough’s Charlton, Kidbrooke with Hornfair, Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Riverside, Glyndon, Eltham West and Middle Park and Sutcliffe wards. It would merge parts of Eltham constituency with what’s left of Greenwich and Woolwich.

The proposal would see most of Charlton separated from Greenwich for the first time since the Victorian era – but would unite most of SE7 under the same MP. But the Eltham area would be split between different constituencies in a seat stretching from the Blackheath Cator Estate to the edge of Thamesmead.

An Eltham and Welling seat would include Greenwich borough’s Eltham North, Eltham South and Coldharbour & New Eltham wards and combine them with Bexley’s East Wickham, St Michael’s, Danson Park, Blackfen & Lamborbey and Falconwood & Welling wards.

Voila – a marginal Eltham seat (currently held by Labour’s Clive Efford) becomes a safe Conservative constituency.

Democratic Audit predicts a Catford constituency consisting of Lewisham borough’s Lewisham Central, Ladywell, Rushey Green, Catford South, Lee Green, Grove Park, Downham and Whitefoot wards. Not much different from the current Lewisham East seat, held by Heidi Alexander.

The rest of Lewisham borough would form a Dulwich and Forest Hill seat, stretching from Dulwich Village to Crofton Park.

Please note: The colours on the maps date back to the 2006 council elections, so need more red and less blue, yellow and green. I couldn’t find a newer map to use…

The Guardian reported on the predictions earlier this week, calling them “the most detailed analysis yet of what those new seats might look like”. The new electoral map will be published by the Boundary Commission in September. You can find full details of these predictions at the Democratic Audit website.

UPDATE 1.15PM: I’ve also done a London-wide take on this for The Scoop.

Written by Darryl

9 June, 2011 at 12:11 pm

12 Responses

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  1. My bet is. Woolwich and Thamesmead (Thamesmead bit of E&T with the Woolwich bit of G&W) Greenwich and Deptford but no guarantees it’s Joan who gets the seats, because Greenwich would be the bigger CLP and might not automatically nominate Joan.

    Woolwich and Thamesmead will be a bloodbath in the Labour party for the nomination, Teresa Pearce isn’t popular in the west of her seat.

    Sacha

    9 June, 2011 at 12:37 pm

  2. I neglected to add that the prediction has Erith and Thamesmead staying largely the same.

    If the prediction is right, then my street will have two different MPs, but one of them could at least join me in campaigning for the 380 to be extended to Brockley Rise so it’s easier to go out for a drink down that way :-)

    (Oh, hang on, Brockley Rise would be somewhere else altogether… let’s rethink that…)

    Darryl

    9 June, 2011 at 1:31 pm

  3. Thanks for doing this. Clive Efford would have a strong claim to fight the misbegotten “Woolwich” constituency as it includes four of his current Eltham wards (and Comrade Nick will be over 70 by 2015).

    I don’t have the individual ward populations to hand but if possible I would prefer the current Eltham constituency as the basis for a new one (perhaps adding Charlton!), move the two Woolwich wards + Glyndon into Erith and Thamesmead and then put some of the Bexley wards currently in E&T into an all Bexley constituency with the five Welling wards.

    Of course the Democratic Audit work is all speculative and not in any way official.

    Paul Webbewood

    9 June, 2011 at 6:19 pm

  4. Earlier today, I thought “if I do end up moving to New Cross, I will be free of Raynsford!” – chance’d be a fine thing…

    Katie S

    9 June, 2011 at 6:32 pm

  5. There is also a idea that Thamesmead will become part of the existing Greenwich and Woolwich, and then shift Blackheath in Eltham, making Eltham a notional Tory marginal, and G+W as solid Labour as you can get.

    Sacha

    9 June, 2011 at 9:41 pm

  6. I would be surprised if Joan Ruddock stands again if the next General Election is in 2015, even if there were no boundary changes. She is 68 this year.

    http://www.debretts.com/people/biographies/browse/r/3123/Joan+RUDDOCK.aspx

    Simon

    10 June, 2011 at 12:29 am

  7. I heard that Greenwich was to become a Royal borough. Will they really want Deptford included in that? Of course, it’s about time Deptford’s real heritage were acknowledged, so that the site where Henry VIII founded the Royal Dockyard isn’t turned into a Chinese developer’s monstrous gated “riverside community” (Convoy’s Wharf), something Lewisham has bent over backwards to accommodate. Deptfordians are fed up of developers calling SE8 Greenwich, but if these boundary changes took place, they would at least make sense – SE8 in the Borough of Deptford and Greenwich, a Royal Borough.

    Deptfordians may also welcome being rid of the tyranny of Lewisham, remotely controlled from Catford (though it may be out of the frying pan and into the fire)…Meanwhile, why not let Southwark have New Cross and New Cross Gate, surely its natural home.

    sue

    19 June, 2011 at 6:47 pm

  8. This is for MPs, not boroughs – I suspect boroughs will end up getting bigger, rather than smaller.

    Convoys was in Greenwich borough (along with part of the Sayes Court Estate and the little park there) until 1994, incidentally.

    Darryl

    19 June, 2011 at 7:04 pm

  9. Wouldn’t Deptford still be part of Lewisham borough, even though the parliamentary boundaries change?

    sue

    19 June, 2011 at 7:11 pm

  10. Deptford would remain split between Lewisham and Greenwich boroughs – but both sides would have the same MP if this prediction is correct.

    Darryl

    19 June, 2011 at 7:12 pm

  11. Thanks Darryl, was getting confused!

    sue

    19 June, 2011 at 7:13 pm

  12. What is this obsession with making everything bigger,more remote, faceless and more easily unaccountable ? No doubt that toxic mix of “Eton Boys” (born to rule, sic) and “bloody accountants” (born with a rule !) end result, divide and rule as none of us will have any local identity left.
    Instead of dumping on Deptford, as is the present practice, lets have a Borough of Deptford. The boundaries would be simple,understandable and geographical. The Thames to Deptford Creek, up the creek and Ravensbourne to Ladywell, across to New Cross Gate,over to Surrey Canal St and then back to the Thames by the route of the Surrey Canal. An area with a human scale.

    Julian Kingston

    20 June, 2011 at 2:26 pm


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