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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Revised Boundary Commission Proposals merge Harringay with Hackney & South Tottenham to Create New Constituency

Following the first round of consultation on the Boundary Commission's 2013 Parliamentary Constituency Review, Harringay has been shoe-horned into a newly created Stamford Hill and South Tottenham parliamentary constituency.

Why this is happening

In February 2011, Parliament passed legislation stating that the Boundary Commission must conduct a review of parliamentary constituency boundaries, and make recommendations to the Government, by October 2013.

The Boundary Commission is currently conducting that review. The procedure requires a significant reduction in the number of constituencies in England (from 533 to 502). It demands that every constituency – apart from two specified exceptions – must have an electorate of between 72,810 and 80,473 – that is 5% either side of the electoral quota of 76,641.

The Local Situation

There are three wards which are either in part or wholly in Harringay:

  • Harringay (whole)
  • St Ann's (part)
  • Seven Sisters (part)

About a year ago the initial proposals of the Commission were made. The initial recommendations would have meant little change for all three 'Harringay wards', with all remaining in the Tottenham constituency. However, the Commission also recommended that Stroud Green was transferred to the Tottenham Constituency. This created uproar from across the tracks and occasioned a post on HoL which started with the following:



(Use the tags at the foot of this post to see various discussions that ran on HoL about this issue at the time.)

With the publication today of the Commission's response to the initial recommendations, we have learned that the well organised campaign supported by Lynne Featherstone and all the Lib Dem councillors has kept Stroud Green out of 'Tottenham'.

This has meant that the Commission has had to go back to the drawing board and come up with new proposals for our area. The result is a completely new constituency called Stamford Hill & South Tottenham. It would have an electorate of 73,109 and contain mix both Hackney and Haringey wards (see table above). Here's what it looks like on the map:



What criteria have the Commission used?

Whilst it's impossible to know what specific issues have been taken into account for our particular constituency, I have attached an extract of the 2013 Parliamentary Constituency Review, which outlines the policy and considerations they took into account. The key issues appear to be:

  1. Population size. The target size is no smaller than 72,810 and no larger than 80,473.
  2. Special geographical considerations, including in particular the size, shape and accessibility of a constituency. The focus here is physical geography such as mountains, hills, lakes, rivers, estuaries and islands, rather than to human or social geography.
  3. Local government boundaries as they existed on 6 May 2010. While The Boundary Commission proposes to identify constituencies by reference to local authority external boundaries as far as practicable, they say that it is nevertheless often necessary to cross these boundaries in order to form constituencies that comply with the statutory electorate range.
  4. Boundaries of existing constituencies. The Boundary Commission intends to have regard generally to existing constituencies as far as possible, as it does not consider that it would be appropriate to start from a ‘blank sheet of paper’.
  5. Any local ties that would be broken by changes in constituencies. This refers to matters of culture, history, socio-economics and other possible aspects of non-physical geography.

That's the theory at any rate. 

The first of the three attachments below is three-page extract expanding on the guidance above.

What about the name?

The official guidance says:

The Boundary Commission’s policy on the naming of constituencies is that, when constituencies remain largely unchanged, the existing constituency name should usually be retained. In such cases constituency names are likely to be altered only where there is good reason for change.

Generally, the Boundary Commission considers that the name should normally reflect the main population centre(s) contained in the constituency, though if a suitable alternative name is proposed which generally commands greater support locally than that proposed by the BCE, it will usually be prepared to recommend that alternative. 


Does any of this matter?

I have to admit to being a bit stumped on what practical difference these changes will make for you and me. Across the county the changes will clearly have an impact on the electoral fortunes of MPs and political parties, but that's not my concern here. Will it make my life better or worse?

One issue which may figure for some people is one of identity. My suspicion is that the horror with which some of Stroud Green greeted the proposal to be transferred to Tottenham was just that;  they saw bureaucrats messing with their notions of who they are and their place in the world and didn't like it.

I certainly have sympathy with notions of identity, but that could most probably be solved by working on the name. 

What about practical issues that'll affect my life? The principal concern that perhaps we all ought to be thinking through is how our interests will be best represented. Will the issues that our MP will choose to focus on and fight for be the ones that matter to us? If people in one part of a proposed constituency feel that their issues would have more in common with one or other constituency, then there may be value in their seeking to be joined with that side.

I think here about the local situation, for what its worth. In 1998, the current St Ann's Ward was created out of part of the old Tottenham Central ward and the old Green Lanes one. Over a decade later, the repercussions of that decision do make themselves felt. At local area forums it's not hard to discern a recurrent theme that the east of the ward has different interests to the west. Neither is it unusual for the east of the ward to feel overlooked in favour of the Harringay end. I have no comments on the extent to which this is fact or perception. However, it's interesting to note, that three years after the boundary changes were made a new body was set up which is arguably the real power broker in Harringay. The Green Lanes Strategy Group specifically covers an area which almost exactly matches the old ward arrangement. Sometimes there's just a natural coincidence of interests within a particular geographic area. Will the Stamford Hill and South Tottenham constituency serve our interests?

(Full local government boundary review here)


What can you do?

The Commission says the following:

The purpose of this (secondary) consultation is to people to see the extent to which our initial proposals for new constituency boundaries in England have been revised to take into account all views expressed in response to those earlier initial proposals. Crucially, this will be the last chance in the current Review for people to contribute, by telling us whether they agree or disagree with our revised proposals (and if they disagree, how they would want them changed). We will consider all the responses to this consultation to see whether any final amendments to the proposals are justified, before we finalise our recommendations and formally submit them to the Government in 2013.

You can comment on the revised proposals that have just been published for an eight week period ending on 10 December 2012. This consultation will be the last one of this review.

The full primary consultation report for London and the  guide to the 2013 Review are provided below as the 2nd and 3rd attachments.

You can comment online here.

Tags for Forum Posts: boundary commission, boundary review, parliamentary constituency boundary rewview

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Replies to This Discussion

Does this mean a Lammy v Abbott contest for the Labour nomination?

Or Lammy vs Love, in Edmonton... which is probably more likely. This is a bit of a mess, very worried that 'North Tottenham' is with some of the higher need areas of Edmonton...

also, doesn't the absurdity of discussing the horror of Stroud Green residents thrown in with people from Tottenham pretty much exemplify why only a reformed system of proportional representation actually represents some form of democratic government?

I think the real problem will be a constituency split between 2 local authorities.

I thought this wasn't going to happen after the deal on Lords Report was scuppered.  Has Nick Clegg changed his mind?

(Labour councillor Far East Highgate ward Tottenham Hale ward)

Yes the MP working with two boroughs seems odd. Does this happen elsewhere?  Will lobbying DAbbott (or A N Other) re issues with LBH, be fundamentally different from lobbying DLammy, who has just the one borough to focus on?

Does this mean I will feel an extra pull down to Stokey rather than Wood Green if I fancy a decent meal?  The bus journey is already easier.

It should deffo be South Tottenham and Stamford Hill anyway.

If these are the boundaries that we end up with, how about a name that doesn't only reference two parts of a constituency that also includes Harringay, West Green, Manor House and what some people may chose to call Seven Sisters (rather than SoTo)?

I notice looking at the map I added above, that the New River runs through a good part of the area. It runs through or borders five of the eight wards. What about New River constituency?

Or, if we include the River Lee, you could add another two constituencies. Another option there could be Two Rivers constituency?

These names seem less territorial somehow; inclusive rather than exclusive. 

For such a crazy spidergram map, (h)Arachne is the only possible name.

Twin Peaks (between Ally Pally and the climbing centre at The Castle).. Has a good ring and you can get a great cup of Joe and pie at Moko. All we need is an MP called Laura Palmer.

I think it happens in Brent, Glenda Jacksons Constitency is mainly in Camden with a few wards in Brent

Ealing, Acton and Shepherds Bush constituency used to include  Ealing council wards and Hammersmith council wards but the boundaries there were rejigged for the 2010 election and now the parliamentary seats match the council boundaries.

Oh the poor Stroud Greenies - stuck between the aspiration of being an Islingtonian or a Crouch Ender

Billy it may interest you to know that the local Conservative Party went to a little trouble to research - in a non-partisan way - the history of Stroud Green Ward. That paper was presented at a meeting of the Stroud Green Residents Association (SGRA) and impressed residents of differing political allegiances. Copies were asked for, for wider distribution because the information and contribution was recognised as valuable.

The MP for Tottenham and Tristram Hunt MP (both Labour), are valued residents of Stroud Green. Haringey Council's leader of the Opposition and his Deputy (LibDem) are both valued Councillors for Stroud Green Ward.

Former Haringey Council Leader Toby Harris lives in the Ward.

Stroud "Greenies" (once a target ward for the Party of that name) are far from stuck between geo-aspirations; it appears it is others who aspire to live in or be associated with Stroud Green and not the other way around!



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