A change of name for the Forest of Dean?

By Nigel Walrond   |   Sports Editor   |
Thursday 22nd September 2016 2:23 pm
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Image via www.forestry.gov.uk ()

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An online petition has been created, in response to a proposed constituency name change for the Forest of Dean.

In 2018, the boundaries for the parliamentary consistencies are due to change, and the an area of Tewkesbury is set to merge with the Forest of Dean, and that the area could be renamed as ‘West Gloucestershire.’

Tim Gwilliam is a Labour Councillor. He is a member of West Dean Parish Council and the Forest of Dean District Council.

Cllr Gwilliam told the Ross Gazette that he and several other Labour councillors had a meeting, and all of them had residents approach them, frustrated about the potential name change. He added that the concerned constituents had not all been Labour supporters.

On Wednesday morning (September 21st), he created the petition on change.org, to show the Boundary Commission for England that many local residents were opposed to the constituency name, ‘West Gloucestershire’.

He told the Ross Gazette: “Over the past few years, a lot of work has been done to improve tourism, under the banner of the ‘Forest of Dean’. The forest has a real identity to it now, and the people of the district are proud of it.”

He proposes that the name of the new constituency be changed instead to ‘The Forest of Dean and South Tewkesbury” when the parliamentary boundaries change in 2018.

Responding to the petition, Conservative MP Mark Harper said: “I support the name change from ‘Forest of Dean’ to ‘West Gloucestershire’, as this would be a more accurate description of the seat which could be embraced by all of its electors. Under the new boundaries, more than 7,000 constituents would live in Tewkesbury Borough.”

He added: “Renaming the seat to West Gloucestershire would also be a return to the historical name of the seat from 1950 to 1997, and importantly would ensure that the name “Forest of Dean” is reserved for use by those associated with the historic Forest of Dean itself, and is not used as a general catch-all term for the wider Parliamentary constituency.

“The name change was supported by all three main political parties in the Forest of Dean in response to the 2011 Boundary Commission proposals."

So far, the petition has gained more than 800 signatures. For more information, visit www.change.org and search for ‘Keep the Constituency Name to the Forest of Dean’.

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