LOCAL communities will be ‘ripped to pieces’ under proposed new boundary changes.
That’s the claim of Leigh MP Andy Burnham who has decribed the plans as “absolutely devastating.”
Leigh Town Hall, Library and Parish Church, will no longer be in the Leigh constituency at all.
Leigh South, Leigh East, Tyldesley and Astley Mosley Common will remain in the Leigh constituency, which will also include areas of Walkden, Little Hulton, Irlam and Cadishead due to the splitting up of the Worsley and Eccles South constituency.
That will leave Leigh West and Atherleigh in a new Westhoughton constituency combined with areas, including Horwich and Blackrod and Westhoughton, which are currently part of the Bolton West constituency, which is being replaced.
Hindley and Atherton will also form part of the Westhoughton constituency.
Makerfield will be extended south to include Golborne, while Wigan is one of only two Greater Manchester constituencies to remain unchanged.
The independent Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has been charged with reducing the number of constituencies in England from 533 to 502 as part of a Coalition Government cost-saving move.
The plans also ensure voters are more evenly spread, with no constituency being smaller than 72,810 or bigger than 80,473.
However, the BCE’s plans for Leigh have provoked anger in the town. Mr Burnham said: “The Boundary Commission has ripped the Leigh Constituency to pieces. Their proposals are disrespectful to our town, its people and its history.
“It would seem that people with no knowledge of our area have sat in an office in London drawing random lines on a map. There can be no other explanation for the nonsense they have produced. How can it make any sense for Leigh Town Hall no longer to be in the constituency of Leigh?
“The carving up of the Leigh constituency into three makes no geographic sense and fails to maintain historic or local links. If they get their way, Pennington Flash, Plank Lane and Leigh Sports Village will be in three different constituencies. The result is that Leigh’s voice in Parliament will be severely weakened.
“We can’t just accept this attack on our local area and our local identity.
“I call on everyone who cares about Leigh to get behind a ‘Keep Leigh in Leigh’.”
The Boundary Commission has announced a 12-week consultation and is inviting the public to comment on its proposals through its website.
A series of public consultations will take place with the Manchester hearing being held on October 11. The review will be completed in autumn 2013, in time for the next general election.