OLD Heath and the Hythe councillors called plans to remove the ward from the Colchester constituency “bizarre” and “a big mistake”.

Adam Fox and Lee Scordis, Labour councillors for the ward, called for the changes to be scrapped.

Mr Fox said: “These proposals are a big mistake and need to be stopped.

“Old Heath and the Hythe are integral parts of Colchester, in particular its urban centre, and could not be considered part of any other constituency.

“Old Heath is the ancient port of Colchester and without this area Colchester wouldn’t exist as it does today.

“It makes no sense to include it with Harwich and rural north Essex.

“The people who have drawn this up clearly know nothing about Colchester or the feelings of local people about where they belong.

“It’s time for everyone locally to speak up against this. There are just four weeks for people to make their voice heard and put a stop to this.”

Mr Scordis added: “We are already getting messages from residents who are pretty upset.

“The ward used to be the old port for Colchester, its historic port. It seems utterly bizarre.

"Clearly the people making these decisions don’t understand Colchester.”

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.

Gazette: Colchester is set to see constituency boundary changesColchester is set to see constituency boundary changes (Image: Newsquest)

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 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”.

Colchester Conservative group leader Darius Laws, who represents Rural Ward North, said: "The overdevelopment of North Colchester meant that boundaries needed to be tweaked and I never saw the logic of removing the beating heart of Colchester that is Lexden from the parliamentary seat. 

"I would have preferred to see Colchester send two MPs to Parliament as we did back in 1283AD, but on balance these revised proposals are a good outcome."