The 2023 Review of Parliamentary Constituency Boundaries in England – Volume one: Report – North East
Of the seven existing constituencies in this sub-region, only three have electorates that are currently within the permitted electorate range: Hartlepool, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, and Stockton South. The remaining four all are below the range. The Tees Valley Combined Authority has an electorate of a little under 495,000, giving a mathematical entitlement to 6.74 constituencies. Under the initial proposals the number of constituencies in this subregion would remain at seven. In the initial proposals, we proposed changes to all of the existing constituencies in this area apart from Hartlepool, which we retain unchanged.
We added a single ward, Heighington & Coniscliffe, to create our proposed Darlington constituency. The boroughs of Middlesbrough, and Redcar and Cleveland have new local government ward boundaries and, although two of the three constituencies have electorates within the permitted range, all three had to be changed in order to reflect that. In addition to the required ward boundary changes, we included two Thornaby wards in our proposed Middlesbrough constituency in order to avoid crossing the River Tees, the village of Marske-by-the-Sea in our Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency, and Ladgate and Marton East to our Redcar and Eston constituency. We included Parkfield and Oxbridge ward in our proposed Stockton North constituency, and included Western Parishes ward in our proposed Stockton West constituency, which also included the Borough of Darlington wards of Hurworth, and Sadberge & Middleton St. George.
The inclusion of the wards of Hurworth, and Sadberge & Middleton St. George in a Stockton West constituency was opposed by residents in both wards, as they feel that they are part of Darlington and all their links, both economic and social, lie with that town. Our retention of the existing Hartlepool constituency was widely supported.
The addition of two of the three Thornaby wards to a Middlesbrough constituency was strongly opposed, as residents told us their links are with Stockton rather than Middlesbrough, and that it should remain in a single constituency, but no counter proposals to achieve this were received. Our Assistant Commissioners noted that the only way to achieve this would be to have a constituency to include most of Middlesbrough, and part of Stockton, crossing the more significant boundary of the River Tees. We did receive a small number of representations that considered Thornaby should be reflected in the constituency name. We received counter proposals for Middlesbrough, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, and Redcar and Eston which sought to more closely align to the existing constituencies and rename Redcar and Eston to its existing name of Redcar to reflect that greater similarity.
The proposed constituencies of Stockton North and Stockton West were opposed, as noted above, but also supported in regards to the wards moving between the two existing Stockton constituencies.
Our Assistant Commissioners noted that, while the initial proposals were opposed across most of the sub-region, few practical solutions existed within the sub-region and region boundaries, which had been widely supported and respected the physical geography of the area. Our Assistant Commissioners investigated adding the Hurworth ward to the Darlington constituency and noted that this would require including the Heighington & Coniscliffe ward from the west of the Borough of Darlington to the Stockton West constituency. This proposal was not suggested during consultation and our Assistant Commissioners considered that, given its proximity, it is clearly linked to Darlington rather than any part of Stockton, whereas the wards of Huworth and Sadberge & Middleton St. George do sit between the two towns.
Our Assistant Commissioners considered the counter proposals for the Middlesbrough, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, and Redcar and Eston constituencies and recommended them due to their greater similarity to the existing constituencies than our initial proposals. This transferred the Borough of Redcar and Cleveland wards of Longbeck, Saltburn and St. Germain’s to a proposed Redcar constituency, and the Borough of Middlesbrough wards of Ladgate, Marton East, and Park End & Beckfield to the Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency. We accepted their recommendations and adopted these constituencies as part of our revised proposals, including reverting to the name of Redcar rather than Redcar and Eston.
Therefore, our revised proposals for Tees Valley were for constituencies of: Darlington; Hartlepool; Middlesbrough and Thornaby East; Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland; Redcar; Stockton North and Stockton West.
In response to the consultation on our revised proposals, we received some support for our revised pattern, and continued opposition to the inclusion of part of Thornaby in our Middlesbrough and Thornaby East constituency, and to the villages between Darlington and Stockton being included in the Stockton West constituency. A single counter proposal to resolve the Thornaby issue, and the Hurworth part of the Darlington villages issue was received, which required crossing the sub-region and region boundary into the Yorkshire and the Humber region. Other counter proposals attempted to attach the Thornaby ward of Village to our proposed Stockton South constituency, but did so where there is no crossing of the River Tees. We received further opposition to the configuration of all three constituencies across Middlesbrough, and Redcar and Cleveland, but no counter proposals were forthcoming to resolve this.
We received small amounts of opposition to our proposed Hartlepool constituency which was otherwise supported, from residents of Wynyard, which is divided by borough boundaries between Hartlepool and Stockton.
There were some suggested name changes such as Middlesbrough Central rather than Middlesbrough and Thornaby East, Guisborough and East Cleveland rather than Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, and Redcar and West Cleveland or South Tees instead of Redcar, but none attracted more than a modicum of support.
We have considered the evidence received and are not making changes to the boundaries of our proposed constituencies in Tees Valley. We recognise the opposition received regarding Hurworth, and Sadberge & Middleton St. George, but conclude that there is no satisfactory configuration which might resolve this while ensuring constituencies are all within the permitted electorate ranges. Similarly, we note the concerns regarding the division of Thornaby and Wynyard between constituencies. We did investigate alternative proposals but found that the issues in Wynyard relate to local authority services being divided across the village, which would not be resolved by both parts being in a single Parliamentary constituency. The division of Thornaby between constituencies is regrettable, but the only solution would require changes to the otherwise supported Tees Valley sub-region and the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber regions. We also considered the representations that proposed alternative constituency names across the sub-region. We were not persuaded that the alternative names better reflected the geographic configuration of the proposed constituencies.
Our final recommendations for Tees Valley are therefore for constituencies of: Darlington; Hartlepool; Middlesbrough and Thornaby East; Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland; Redcar; Stockton North; and Stockton West. The areas covered by these constituencies are listed in Volume two and shown on the maps in Volume three of this report.