Boundary Commission propose taking some Knaresborough villages out of Harrogate district

Knaresborough viaduct
Knaresborough viaduct
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Fears have been raised that some Knaresborough villages will be taken out of the Harrogate district under the latest proposals from the Boundary Commission.

The Commission are reducing the number of MPs across the country from 650 to 600 and potentially redrawing boundary lines in order to do so.

Under the latest proposals, the Boroughbridge and Claro wards of the Harrogate district would be placed into the Selby and Ainsty constituency, much to the despair of residents.

Coun Nick Duxberry (Claro, Cons), criticised the proposals and said that the Claro ward had more links to the Harrogate district than to Selby and Ainsty.

He said: “I think it would be better if Claro remained in Harrogate but that’s an issue that was well under way when I was elected in May.

“I expressed my views and concerns at the time but I think sadly it may be too little too late.

“The villages in Claro are very closely connected to Harrogate. I have raised the issue within the Conservative group and we are doing what we can with this.”

Villages including Scotton, Ferrensby and Coneythorpe are also included in the Claro district which also touches Killinghall and Knaresborough Scriven Park.

If given the go-ahead, the move would also see the Washburn valley area placed into the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency.

Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, has now written to the Commission urging them to support the status quo of the boundary lines.

He said: “All the North Yorkshire constituencies are already within the limits set by the Boundary Commission. There is no need for any change due to the size of the electorate.

“Boroughbridge and the villages to the north and east of Knaresborough are linked to Harrogate and Knaresborough in so many ways that do not exist with Selby.”

Mr Jones explained that the move would create problems for communities who currently look to Harrogate and Knaresborough for their essential services.

He said: “These areas look mainly to Harrogate and Knaresborough for transport links, for schooling and for local government, economic and cultural ties.

“If you live in Scotton then you would have to travel for probably an hour to get to the middle of Selby whereas you would already have important links in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

“To try and remould these well-established and well-known links into a Selby and Ainsty constituency identity flies in the face of the everyday reality of those who live in the area.

"I’m asking people if they agree with that idea to write into the Boundary Commission. I want people to do this and keep our communities together.”

Anyone who wishes to make representations about the changes can do so on the Boundary Commissions website at www.bce2018.org.uk