February 25, 2022 8.00 am

Plan to merge Grimsby and Cleethorpes MP constituencies proves controversial

Overwhelming majority of consultation responses have been negative.

By Local Democracy Reporter

Plans that would see Grimsby and Cleethorpes brought under the same MP would be a ‘disaster’ according to residents.

The boundary commission has opened a fresh consultation as it rebalances the areas represented by Members of Parliament.

Northern Lincolnshire would look very different under the proposal, with the creation of a Grimsby and Cleethorpes seat.

 

Scartho, Humberston and New Waltham would be grouped with Immingham, Barton and Brigg into a South Humber constituency.

The merger of Grimsby and Cleethorpes has proved highly controversial during the consultation, and the overwhelming majority of responses have been negative.

“Merging Grimsby and Cleethorpes would be a disaster. The towns are very different with very different needs and issues,” one resident wrote.

Another said: “Cleethorpes is a town in its own right, not an appendage to Grimsby, and should therefore be treated as such in any boundary considerations.”

Others argued that it was important the resort kept its independence.

“I am absolutely against combining Grimsby and Cleethorpes. Grimsby has had a far too big say in Cleethorpes politics for years. The council is already combined – we must have our independent MP,” one comment said.

“Cleethorpes is and always should be an independent entity. It has its own people and therefore it’s own representation in our great parliament.”

Another suggested a tweak to the name, saying: “I’m concerned about Cleethorpes losing its voice. Keeping the name Cleethorpes in the new constituency would be a crucial part of keeping this identity – how about ‘Cleethorpes and Grimsby’?”

Some saw a political motive in the shake-up of the boundary lines.

“Parts of the generally Conservative Cleethorpes have been added into the Great Grimsby constituency in an obvious attempt to bolster the number of Conservative voters in the historically Labour voting Grimsby,” one comment says.

Several suggested that Grimsby be merged with other industrial areas of North East Lincolnshire.

“Grimsby and Immingham together with the other South Humber Ports have more in common than linking Cleethorpes with Grimsby. This is due to Grimsby, Immingham and the other South Humber ports being focused on industry including fishing, car transportation, renewables and food manufacturing,” one resident suggested.

This would leave Cleethorpes free to combine with the nearby villages of Humberston, Waltham and New Waltham.

Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers has backed the proposal, saying: “The recommendations deal with local sensitivities as best as possible within the guidelines by which they are governed and, I believe, will lead to minimal disruption for local people.”

However, he urged that the name ‘South Humber’ be abandoned for Northern Lincolnshire.

“Local opinion is quite clear; people regard themselves as from Lincolnshire and use of Humber or Humberside is widely disliked and is not acceptable,” he said.

The goal of the redistricting is to balance MP’s seat sizes so that each has roughly 74,000 electors, ensuring votes have equal weight.

Great Grimsby is currently significantly smaller than this.

The second round of consultations will run from February 22 to April 4.

Public hearings will be held for the region in Hull on March 14 and 15, and responses can be submitted online through the Boundary Commission Review website.