ALTERATIONS have been proposed to some Ward boundaries in Newry, Mourne and Down.
Provisional Recommendations for the review of the 11 District Council boundaries in Northern Ireland and their constituent wards were published last week by the Local Government Boundaries Commissioner, Sarah Havlin.
Members of the public and their representatives are now encouraged to participate and share their views on the initial proposals.
These Provisional Recommendations are the outcome of work over the last number of months by the Commissioner in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972, as amended. This process is undertaken in order to independently provide electoral equality in that all the wards within a district should, as far as possible, have a similar number of electors. he review has used the latest mapping technology to increase accessibility and transparency around the proposed changes, and has considered a range of issues including the impact of any population and housing changes since the last review in 2008/09.
The publication starts a period of consultation where people can provide feedback and suggestions about the provisional recommendations. The closing date for written submissions about these proposals will be 21st September 2021. After this a series of 11 public hearings will be held in each council area facilitated by Assistant Commissioners. The public hearings, which will be subject to the relevant covid-19 public health guidance at that time, will be held in late September and early October and details will be shared on the Commissioner’s website, www.lgbc-ni.org.uk, in due course. In order to maximise public participation in the hearings, and to mitigate against any public health restrictions that may be in place, the Commissioner intends to deliver events in a hybrid format that will allow for both in person and online participation.
Following conclusion of the public hearing stage, the Commissioner will engage in an analysis of the representations received, and may prepare revised proposals on which representations may be made. A final recommendations report will be provided to Department for Communities by 31st May 2022.
Speaking about the publication of the Provisional Recommendations, The Commissioner Sarah Havlin said:
“I am pleased to reach this stage where we can now share the Provisional Recommendations for the current review of local government boundaries in Northern Ireland. Unlike the previous review this does not represent a major restructure of local government boundaries and therefore any proposed changes are not substantial. That said, changes in the electorate since the last review in 2008/09 have meant ward boundary movements across all council areas. It is important that these recommended changes are consulted upon and that local people and their representatives have their say. Working with colleagues in Ordnance Survey NI (OSNI) we have delivered leading mapping technology which we are confident will make the process more user friendly, accessible and transparent.
“I hope that these Provisional Recommendations will now act as a catalyst for meaningful public engagement and that is why I would encourage anyone who is interested to consider the recommendations and share their views with us. We will receive written submissions online and by email. We will then be hosting a series of public hearings later in the year to allow people to share their feedback in person or virtually online. I hope that as many people and organisations as possible will take the opportunity to respond to the Provisional Recommendations and contribute to the shaping of Local Government.”
Full details on how to access and respond to the consultation can be found at https://www.lgbc-ni.org.uk/consultation where the Provisional Recommendations report and maps can also be found. The Provisional Recommendations report can accessed digitally at a number of venues throughout Northern Ireland including all public libraries, and some council offices. Details about the public hearings will be shared in due course online and via social media channels - Twitter and Facebook @LGBCNI#