STRONG opposition to the local boundary review has seen plans take a U-turn and keep Leigh Town Hall in Leigh.

Original proposals from the Boundary Commission for England saw the Ashton and Leigh West wards swapped in political constituencies, meaning that in a general election some people from Leigh would not be voting for the Leigh MP and Ashton residents not voting for the Makerfield MP.

Instead, the wards of Atherleigh and Leigh West, which contains Leigh Town Hall and large parts of the town centre, would be split to keep Leigh’s electorate below the maximum below the permitted range, the boundary report said.

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Leigh Journal: The new Ashton constituency and council ward boundariesThe new Ashton constituency and council ward boundaries (Image: Boundary Commission for England)

The areas of Dangerous Corner and Pickley Green will now be included in the proposed Makerfield constituency, while Atherton will be realigned into the Leigh constituency.

Both Leigh and Makerfield MP's broadly welcomed the revised Parliamentary proposals, after the plans were strongly opposed by both communities.

Leigh Journal: James Grundy welcomed the new boundary proposalsJames Grundy welcomed the new boundary proposals (Image: James Grundy MP)

James Grundy, MP for Leigh, said: "I strongly welcome the revised proposals to keep the town of Leigh broadly united in a single seat. The proposals to exchange Westleigh for part of Ashton-in-Makerfield were strongly opposed by both communities.

"I am very glad that my Keep Leigh in Leigh campaign has proven successful, with broad public support from the people of Leigh."

Although Mr Grundy still raised concerns about a split in Astley between Leigh and Salford, he welcomed the plans to realign Atherton in his constituency rather than in Bolton West.

This new ward will now be known as the Leigh and Atherton Borough Constituency.

Other boundary changes within the borough suggested a split through the new Hindley Green, and Atherton South and Lilford wards, but the commission felt they were very similar to the existing polling district boundary and closely aligns with Westleigh Brook.

The commission’s rationale for splitting the polling district of Atherleigh and Leigh West in this way was to only split a single incoming ward, Leigh West.

Leigh Journal: Leigh Town Hall will remain in the Leigh constituencyLeigh Town Hall will remain in the Leigh constituency (Image: Wigan Council)

The boundary commission report stated: "We acknowledge the issues caused by the initial proposals here and that they are deeply unpopular as a number of local ties would be broken.

"We accept their rationale for the splitting of the two wards, noting that this will, in practice, only split one incoming ward, and maintain the existing centres of Ashton and Leigh within their respective constituencies, without producing a negative domino effect across the west of Greater Manchester.”

The Wigan constituency would remain "wholly unchanged" as a result of this review, with just a few council wards changing in size.

Leigh Journal: The proposals for the boundary changes in WiganThe proposals for the boundary changes in Wigan (Image: Boundary Commission for England)

The final consultation on this review ends on December 5, 2022, while a final report will be sent to parliament and published by July 1, 2023 with the findings and recommendations.