Orpington’s MP has claimed plans to redraw the constituency’s boundaries would weaken the voices of residents and create a “bizarre divide.”

The Boundary Commission published its proposals last month, which would see the Petts Wood and Knoll Ward’s removed from Orpington and placed in Bromley and Chislehurst.

With a public consultation closing on Monday, Gareth Bacon has instead called for the constituency be expanded with the addition of the Cray Valley West ward.

Gareth Bacon MP said: "The Boundary Commission's proposal to remove Petts Wood and Knoll Ward from the Orpington constituency disregards the strong community ties in the area.

This Is Local London: The existing constituencies, the proposed changesThe existing constituencies, the proposed changes

“That's why I have written to the Commission to oppose its proposal and suggest an alternative.

“I urge all residents to do the same before the consultation closes on Monday the 2nd of August.

"Under the Commission's proposal, Petts Wood and Knoll Ward residents would no longer elect and be represented by the Member of Parliament for Orpington but be bolted onto a new Bromley constituency.

“I believe this would weaken the ward's residents voice in Westminster as the area doesn't have the same ties to Bromley as it shares with Orpington.

"Not only is Petts Wood a secondary town centre in the existing constituency, sharing many public services and transport links, but the Commission's proposed boundary would also split Orpington town centre.

“This bizarre divide would mean the MP for Orpington would not represent half of the town or be answerable to Petts Wood residents.

"Instead of this bizarre boundary, I propose adding a polling district from Cray Valley West Ward. These residents have Orpington addresses and often write to me thinking I represent them.

“My counter-proposal would meet the requirements of the Boundary Commission and allow Petts Wood and Knoll Ward to stay within the Orpington constituency."

The aim of the Boundary Commission’s review, launched in January this year, is to ensure the number of voters living in each constituency is as equal as possible, meaning each vote has similar value.

The number of constituencies in England is set to increase from 533 to 543, with the commission recommending each contains between 69,724 and 77,062 voters.

In 2019, Orpington had 68,884 registered voters, while Bromley and Chislehurst had 66,697.

Under the proposals, Bromley would continue to have three constituencies, with Beckenham and Orpington retaining their current names.

Sir Bob Neill’s Bromley and Chislehurst would instead be named Bromley.

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