5 o sylwadau ar “(English) Are we losing ground to England?

  1. I was intending to comment on the border following the original course of the Dee to the northwest of Chester but you beat me to it in the article! I have another point of curiosity to raise: does this ‘exclave’ of Wales, or more precisely the bit west of the A494 closer to where river becomes estuary, constitute a chunk of the Wirral?

    I’m guessing that rather than the almost right-angled turn to the south west the now-canalised river takes north of Chester Golf Club, its course from this point would have been a smooth, almost sinusoidal meander, to converge with the border near Sovereign Way, off Sealand Road. I also just had a thought, of how Sovereign Way is an interesting choice of name for a road that runs almost right along the border. Perhaps a reaffirmation of this being One United Kingdom despite there being a border in the vicinity, or am I over-thinking things?

    1. See also https://gwlad.org/en/2019/01/03/t/ :

      “Nowhere is this more in evidence than up here in the North East, where the border runs straight down the middle of Llanymynech High Street, swishes back and forth either side of the Dee around Wrexham and cuts straight through the suburbs of Chester at Saltney, before making a final lunge over the Dee, taking in a chunk of the Wirral and ending at a sandbank in the Dee Estuary.”

      If the Wirral is regarded geographically as being the peninsula of land between the Mersey and Dee estuaries, then I’d say for sure that the ‘exclave’ (great word!) is part of the Wirral.

      But as for Sovereign Way – no idea why it has that name. Seeing it on the map again, though, brings back vivid memories of having to be at the Royal Mail Sorting Office there before 7am with 30,000 election leaflets in the back of the car, when I was Gwyn Evans’s agent in the election campaign last December!

      1. Maybe it can be the *new* Flintshire Detached! If that border-straddling pub in Llanymynech is still open and hasn’t become yet another victim of brewery greed and ‘property development’ it will be interesting to see how it functions with regards to differential lifting of lockdown restrictions.

        I recall having my induction at the Royal Mail depot a good few years ago now. What is also interesting about the urban sprawl in those parts is how developments like the Blacon housing estate and the Sovereign Way road itself seem to respect the border, but others, like the Park and Ride and the football ground are spread across it. My guess would be that such differences are due to whether the original developers could be bothered to apply to both local authorities for planning or not.

        1. Not long after we moved to the north-east in 2016 we had cause, in the context of searching out office equipment for my other half’s pioneering new job, to wander – fruitlessly in the end! – around what the OS map describes variously as ‘Sealand Industrial Estate’ and ‘Chester West Employment Park’. Observing that the map indicated that industrial units had in places been built across the border as if it didn’t exist, I remember speculating just how that would work out in practice in the ultimate event of an independent Wales!

          Maybe I’m too corralled into the thinking which hard frontiers mould: I remember waiting for well over an hour without any evident necessity to cross the frontier between Bulgaria and Romania on what was no more than a tourist day trip. On the other hand I also recall travelling between Belgium and the Netherlands without let or hindrance with no more difficulty than one has here when crossing from Wales into England. You just passed a roadside sign. And I’ve read that for years – maybe centuries! – parts of the border between those two countries were speckled with little enclaves of Belgium entirely surrounded by Netherlands territory and vice versa. Maybe it doesn’t have to be a problem as long as there’s a general will not to make it into one?

          Nevertheless the Sealand Industrial Estate sowed on my mind a sense of future conceivable difficulties in the event of Welsh independence: could a situation in which one part of a site – and in a few instances even one corner of a building on that site – was in England and the other in Wales really be made to work? Because you can bet that were Wales ever to opt for independence the likelihood of generalized ‘good will on all sides’ would be slight! I suspect that at least some boundary adjustments would become inevitable.

          And in that context another issue which arises in border areas is the presence or absence of a local popular mandate. What would be the implication if a majority of the people in Wales – presumably in a referendum – opted for independence, but in some local border areas voters gave the notion an overwhelming ‘thumbs down’? Would – should – they be compelled to acquiesce, or ought there to be some provision for those areas to be incorporated into England?

          I know of only one instance where this particular conundrum has arisen in the past, and that’s the decision to ‘disestablish’, exactly a century ago after decades of ‘chapel’ campaigning, the Church of England within Wales. Parish boundaries between one parish and another had over centuries evolved entirely independently from the rather fluid notion of where England stopped and Wales began, and by 1920 there were nineteen Anglican parishes whose parish boundaries straddled the border.

          The decision was made that those parishes where the church building was in Wales but the parish itself extended into parts of England should be accorded the right to decide whether they wanted to move into the new disestablished ‘Church in Wales’ or stick with the ‘C of E’ – in which case their parish would be detached from its previous Welsh diocese and attached to the neighbouring English one. Most of those parishes opted to stick with the status quo, the largest of which is Presteigne (Llanandras), formerly in the diocese of St Davids but having opted to remain part of the C of E ended up in the diocese of Hereford. Llansilin, outside Oswestry, was the exception.

          But that same privilege wasn’t accorded to border parishes which for long centuries had historically been part of Welsh dioceses, but whose boundaries included no part of Wales as Wales was defined in 1920. One parish outside Oswestry which had been part of the diocese of St Asaph since the middle ages voted to stay with that diocese, even though it had no legal entitlement to do so; but as its parish boundaries included no part of Wales as Wales was conceived in 1920, its vote was of none effect and it was still peremptorily transferred into the diocese of Lichfield along with the rest of north Salop.

          I suspect this business of consent in border areas would become a thorny issue, as and when the independence issue comes to the fore.

          1. An interesting read. Recall that Belgium was once part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, so their open border arrangement (and quirks like Baarle-Hertog as mentioned by you) are I’d guess a consequence of this history, in a comparable manner to the Common Travel Area between ROI and the UK. There is plenty of good precedent out there to be drawn from for border arrangements in an independent Wales.

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