South Antrim and Belfast North electoral boundaries to shift under new proposals

Boundaries are set to be redrawn in the South Antrim and Belfast North constituencies under new proposals.

The Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland last week published its initial proposals for new UK Parliamentary constituency boundaries in the province.

An 8-week public consultation is now open for members of the public, political parties and wider civic society to share their views on the plans.

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While the number of constituencies allocated to Northern Ireland for the 2023 Review remains at 18, 11 of the 18 existing constituencies’ electorates fall outside the Rule 2 statutory range of between 69,724 and 77,062.

Proposed changes to the South Antrim constituency.

However with an electorate of 71,915, South Antrim is already within the statutory electorate range, the report noted.

“Having considered a balancing of factors (in particular, being mindful of undue disruption to existing constituency boundaries), and the need to satisfy the statutory electorate range in each constituency, the following split wards have been aligned within South Antrim (in which they are already partially located): Ballyduff, Burnthill, Carnmoney, Fairview and Stonyford,” the document added.

A number of other wards which were already partially located in adjacent constituencies would be transferred, including Jordanstown to East Antrim, and Ballyhenry, Carnmoney Hill and Hightown to Belfast North.

Belfast North, designated as a borough constituency, was also noted to be within the statutory electorate range (72,332).

As well as the wards it would gain from the shifting of the South Antrim boundary, the Belfast North area would also incorporate Forth River from Belfast West. Shankill and Woodvale, meanwhile would be aligned within Belfast West.

No change of name has been proposed for either constituency.

Meanwhile, South Antrim MP Paul Girvan has encouraged the public to have their say on the proposed changes. “The Boundary has published its initial proposals to alter the current boundaries of the South Antrim constituency,” he said.

“The proposals include the removal of parts of the Mallusk and parts of the Carnmoney area from South Antrim. These represent the most dramatic changes to South Antrim in almost 20 years.

“The impact of these changes could be profound on local communities and it is vital that those impacted have their say. The Boundary Commission has opened an eight week consultation on its initial proposals and I am encouraging the public to give their views. These changes must have the support and confidence of the people of South Antrim and that is why it is essential that the public make their views known.”

More information can be found at www.boundarycommission.org.uk.