Faith leaders in Dudley are united in calling for a stop to boundary proposals which would see the town centre split in half and St Thomas ward lumped in to a new Sandwell constituency.
Under the Boundary Commission’s proposals, the St Thomas’s Ward (which covers areas like Kates Hill, the Buffery, Sledmere, Blowers Green and Oakham) would be put into a with seven Sandwell wards to form a constituency stretching all the way to Edgbaston.
It would also see Dudley’s historic town centre split in two, and put the town centre church of St Thomas's in a different constituency from the ward that carries its name.
Faith leaders from Dudley’s Central Mosque, The Guru Nanak Singh Sabha Gurdwara and the Rector of Dudley have all objected to the proposals by writing to the Boundary Commission.
The Revd Robert Barlow, Rector of Dudley, said:
“These proposals completely fail to reflect Dudley’s local identity.
“The church has been changing its structures to make cooperation across the Borough much easier these so these plans couldn’t come at the worst possible time.
“I want to see plans which take in to account the geographical and community cohesion in our town.”
Palvinder Bains from The Guru Nanak Singh Sabha Gurdwara said:
“Local religious organisations play a very important role in Dudley, bringing people together, fostering social cohesion and enabling people to fulfil a full role in the life of the town.
“The Guru Nanak Singh Sabha Gurdwara is entrenched in the local community, serving Sikh residents from predominantly two of Dudley’s local authority wards – St James’s and St Thomas’s, which would be separated in these plans.
“We are appalled that these proposals clearly do not take in to consideration the needs of residents and community & religious groups in this area.”
Mr Mohammed Aurangzeb, Chairman of Dudley Central Mosque said:
“I am really concerned that members of our community could have to travel all the way to the edge of Birmingham to see their ‘local’ MP, it’s a long way to travel to meet your representative.
“I’ll be opposing these proposals and encouraging others to do the same”