The Boundary Commission has released their final recommendations for the new parliamentary boundaries. The new boundaries will reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600, something Parliament approved in principle in 2011.

There was previously some concern in the Conservative Party that they may have trouble getting these changes through Parliament, but we understand that the leadership are now confident that this can be done.

The Conservatives have long argued that the current set of constituency boundaries have favoured the Labour Party. These final proposals seek to level the playing field, but some commentators argue that the changes go too far the other way.

According to recent analysis of the final proposals by politics professors at Plymouth University, Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher, the Conservatives would have won a 16-seat majority at the last general election under the redrawn boundaries.

This, added to the incumbency factor, means that the Conservative Party are in a good position to be the largest Party following the next election depending on the impact of other factors such as Brexit.

Those in the development industry are all too aware of the importance placed on both greenfield Green Belt by Conservative politicians and there is little chance that this will change in the foreseeable future.

These re-worked boundaries have very practical impacts on development sentiment among MPs. Many have won the favour – and the support – of voters by opposing development proposals tabled in their constituencies. However, with the reduction of MPs comes a general increase in constituency sizes opening up considerable areas of land that MPs have not previously opposed development on.

MPs are well aware that house building needs to increase, particularly as it is a Government pledge the leadership of the Conservative Party see as crucial to winning the next election. MPs realise that brownfield development is not the ‘magic pill’ that will provide the Government’s target of 300,000 houses a year.

This leaves MPs with a decision. They either break their publicly made promises and accept development that they had previously opposed, or they think carefully about how they position themselves on potential developments in the areas they have inherited from neighbouring constituencies. Our understanding is that MPs generally will be minded to do the latter.

How TFA can help?

TFA is well positioned to understand the implications of the boundary changes through our work promoting development across the country and whilst decisions are ultimately made by Local Planning Authorities (LPAs), the have important powers to request ‘call ins’ from Government.
New boundaries will also be of interest to businesses engaging with constituency MPs on a broader basis and we are well placed to support contact programme and engagement work focused on relevant constituency MPs to any business, group or organisation.