Lagan Valley to go under new boundary proposals

Suggested Boundary changes.
Suggested Boundary changes.

Plans to significantly redraw electoral boundaries in Northern Ireland are set to result in major changes for the electorate in Lisburn.

The proposals suggest that the Lagan Valley constituency, which has been largely unchanged for over 30 years, be split in two with half joining West Down and the other joining South Antrim constituency.

The proposals are open to political parties and the public to comment on and it is expected the new constituencies will be in place by 2020.

A local MLA told the Star that these plans will create two ‘artificial constituencies’ that do not reflect reality.

UUP MLA Alex Redpath said: “The new boundary proposals for Lagan Valley are very surprising.

“It is important to remember that these are draft proposals and both my party and I will be submitting a robust response.

“I believe the Commission have gone outside their remit with these proposals.

“The Commission’s own guidelines make clear that new proposals should respect geographical considerations, any local ties which could be broken, and the existing shape of the constituency boundaries.

“The current proposal cuts Lagan Valley in two and creates two quite artificial constituencies which don’t reflect the reality of local communities.”

Mr Redpath added: “Lisburn which formed the heart of Lagan Valley may now be on the periphery of South Antrim with a small portion being removed to West Down. Separating Lisburn in this way and removing many of the satellite settlements from the same constituency would in my view damage the cohesiveness and effectiveness of local political representation.”

DUP MLA for Lagan Valley Paul Givan said his party will carefully consider the proposals at each stage of the process.