Seven councillors to represent town on super-council

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CRAIGAVON is set to become part of the largest super council outside Belfast if new proposals announced last week get the go ahead.

The Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council (ABC) Local Government District would have 41 wards, 41 councillors and a total electorate of almost 140,000.

The Lurgan district will have the largest number of councillors (seven) as will Banbridge while Portadown and Armagh will have six each and the Craigavon, Cusher and the new Lagan River districts will have five councillors each.

Only Belfast would be bigger with 60 wards and an electorate of 215k with Newry, Mourne and Down becoming the third largest also with 41 wards and with an electorate totalling 120k.

The Provisional Recommendations were announced by the District Electoral Areas Commissioner, Richard Mackenzie CB who revealed that while it was provided that each of the districts would have 40 wards, special discretion was allowed and both ABC and Newry, Mourne and Down were provisionally allocated 41 wards.

Each ward in the ABC area will have an electoral average of 3,397.

Lurgan will have seven wards in Aghagallon, Lough Road, Shankill, Parklake, Mourneview, Knocknashane and Magheralin.

Craigavon is to have five wards Derrytrasna, Craigavon Centre, Kernan, Brownlow and Bleary.

A new ward called Lagan River will have five councillors and wards named: Waringstown; Gilford; Donaghcloney; Quilly and Dromore. It will have an electorate totalling 16,075.

This new electoral ward has a councillor to electorate ratio: 1 to 3,215 which is 5.4% less than the ward electoral average.

The Portadown area will have six wards of Loughgall, The Birches, Mahon, Ballybay, Corcrain and Killycomain.

While each ward represents a seat on the council, councillors are not elected to a particular ward.

They are elected to represent the district electoral area by a system of proportional representation.

Thus an electoral area will be represented by five, six or seven councillors, depending on the number of wards it contains.

Mr Mackenzie said, “The publication of my report is the first stage in the process to establish electoral areas for the new local government district councils in Northern Ireland. My proposals represent a considerable change from the current pattern in some places due to the reduction in the number of councils and the consequent fall in the number of wards. However, in other areas there is a broad similarity with the existing pattern.”

An eight week consultation period has begun during which written representations must be received by Thursday, June 27.

The Commissioner may arrange for public inquiries to be held in the autumn depending on the number and nature of objections to the recommendations.