Campaigners launch petition to keep Emerson Park in Hornchurch constituency
- Credit: Grant MacMaster
Campaigners are fighting to stop Emerson Park ward moving into a new MP constituency as part of recent proposals in a boundary review.
Led by local Conservatives Grant MacMaster and Dr Noshaba Khiljee, this grassroots initiative aims to deter the Boundary Commission for England (BCE) from pressing ahead with plans to move Emerson Park ward out of Hornchurch and Upminster constituency and into Romford.
Backed by the MP for the former, Julia Lopez, the pair have created a petition where people can voice their opposition.
Grant, speaking on behalf of the pair, told the Recorder: "Emerson Park has always been a part of Hornchurch and is the heart and centre of the community.
"Its local shops, and economy are closely linked to the business network of Hornchurch and Upminster, as opposed to Romford area.
"The community spirit in Emerson Park has cultural ties to our local library in Hornchurch Town Centre and Langton's Gardens, as well as to the Queen's Theatre."
Arguing that the ward is "served by main roads leading to Hornchurch and Upminster", the pair feel residents are "more likely" to use facilities in these areas than in Romford.
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The move has been proposed because Hornchurch and Upminster has an electorate of more than 77,062, which is the new upper limit set to be introduced following a review.
Notwithstanding this, the campaigners believe "communities must come first".
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They claim education will also be affected, with schools such as The Campion School, Redden Court and Emerson Park Academy to move into a new constituency under the proposals.
Havering Sixth Form College would also be placed into "a different seat to its feeder schools".
Ms Lopez has argued that the proposals, should they materialise, would take "the heart out of the existing seat".
She said: "I completely agree with residents that Emerson Park is firmly part of the Hornchurch community too and should not be separated from our high street and cultural centres like Langton’s, Queen's Theatre and Hornchurch Library."
Emphasising that the consultation phase doesn't close until August, the MP is encouraging people to share their views with the BCE.
She will also make a submission on behalf of Emerson Park residents - email email@example.com to contribute.
A spokesperson from the BCE said: "We want to make sure that the map of constituencies we shape during the 2023 Boundary Review reflects local community ties while ensuring every constituency is within the electorate range of 69,724 and 77,062.
"In our previous review, we changed over 50 per cent of our initial proposals having considered the feedback we received."