COMMUNITIES in the Howe of Fife have joined together to oppose plans to split the area for UK elections.
Boundary Commission officials want to replace North East Fife with a new Cupar and St Andrews constituency — but that won’t include the entire Howe of Fife.
Places including Auchtermuchty, Strathmiglo, Gateside, Falkland, Freuchie and Kettle will instead join the new Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes constituency.
Community leaders have condemned the proposals, branding them a ‘crude arithmetical exercise’ that will end the Howe’s centuries-old link with north east Fife.
Teaming up to resist the move, four community council chairs this week issued a joint statement urging the 6000 affected residents to voice their objections as part of an ongoing public consultation.
Anthony Garrett (Falkland), Andy Heer (Auchtermuchty and Strathmiglo), Maureen Lang (Kettle) and Betty Lindsay (Freuchie) said: “We believe that the rural communities of the Howe are bound inextricably to the Cupar and St Andrews area.
“Historically, culturally, economically and socially, local people have always looked north and eastwards, rather than to the very different Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes region.
“For generations, our public services, schools, churches, sports clubs and many other aspects of local life have been affiliated with Cupar and north east Fife, not with Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy.”
Members of the public have until January 4 to have their say on the shake-up, which would also see the Levenmouth area and Wemyss villages become part of the Cupar and St Andrews constituency.
The community council chairs added: “Parliamentary boundaries have a huge symbolic importance.
“They must respect local connections and ways of life.
“Even more importantly, we must also consider our democratic rights — it would be unrealistic to expect that any MP elected to serve Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes would be able to give effective representation to a small rural area with little in common with the main part of the constituency, and only eight per cent of its electorate.”
In a statement released alongside the plans, the Boundary Commission said: “Parliament has decided to reduce the number of UK Parliament constituencies from 650 to 600.
“In Scotland this means that there will be 52 constituencies instead of 59.
“Of these, two constituencies are defined in the legislation — Na h-Eileanan an Iar (the Western Isles) and Orkney and Shetland.
“The remaining 50 constituencies must each have between 72,810 and 80,473 electors.
“Due to the reduction in the number of constituencies and the requirement for nearly equal numbers of electors in each constituency, it has not been possible to leave constituencies as they currently are.”
For more information on the proposals or to have your say, visit www.bcomm-scotland.gov.uk/6th_westminster
Comments can also be made by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to The Boundary Commission for Scotland, Thistle House, 91 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh, EH12 5HD.