PLANS to revamp constituency boundaries would see “integral” parts of Colchester transferred to Harwich and North Essex.

Under fresh changes proposed by the Boundary Commission, the ward of Old Heath and the Hythe would be removed from the Colchester constituency.

Plans were first drawn up to revamp the parliamentary constituencies covering Colchester last year, with an eight-week consultation launched.

The initial changes proposed would have seen Colchester gain Rowhedge from Harwich and North Essex, but lose Lexden and Braiswick, as well as Prettygate, to the same seat.

Initial proposals would have also seen Mersea and Pyefleet go to Witham, adding to existing Colchester areas like Stanway, Marks Tey and Layer.

But in its fresh report, the commission plans to include Old Heath and the Hythe, alongside Rowhedge and Mersea, in the Harwich and North Essex constituency.

The report said: “Including the Old Heath and the Hythe ward provides a stronger link between Mersea and Pyefleet and the rest of the constituency, as it contains Fingringhoe Road, which becomes Old Heath Road, and the Colne Causeway bridge – the first bridge crossing the River Colne when driving from Mersea to Harwich.

“Furthermore, the town of Wivenhoe has links to the village of Rowhedge via the foot ferry.

“We acknowledge a significant portion of the Old Heath and the Hythe ward is in the existing Colchester constituency and has close community ties to the city.

“However, this is true of any of the other options, such as the Greenstead, St. Anne’s and St. John’s, Highwoods, or Mile End wards.

“Old Heath and the Hythe is the only ward out of these options that has a significant portion already included in the existing Harwich and North Essex constituency.”

The fresh plans would see the Lexden and Braiswick ward split, with its urban polling districts divided from the rest of the ward by the A12 and the railway line included in the Colchester constituency.

The rural half of the ward would remain in the Harwich and North Essex constituency.

Prettygate will now remain a part of the Colchester constituency, with the report describing the ward as “an integral part of Colchester, with strong transport links, close geographical proximity, historical links and community ties regarding schools and other establishments”.

Sir Bob Russell, High Steward of Colchester and former MP of 18 years, said the city’s surging population means changes to its boundaries are inevitable. 

Gazette: Sir Bob RussellSir Bob Russell

“Clearly the big increase in population means that part of it has to be moved out as is the case with Ipswich and Cambridge," he said.

“Based on my 18 years’ experience as MP, in my opinion the Boundary Commission’s original proposal was better than what is now suggested. 

“I think that Old Heath and The Hythe fit better as neighbours to New Town, Berechurch and Greenstead Wards than being separated from them.”

Comments can still be made on the proposals here