Council merger moves closer

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THE merger of Newtownabbey and Antrim Borough Councils moved a step nearer this week as the draft Local Government (Boundaries) Order was laid in the Assembly.

The two local authorities are due to amalgamate in the next few years as part of the Reorganisation of Local Government, which will see the number of councils in Northern Ireland reduced from 26 to 11.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood said: “The draft Order is a further step towards the reorganisation of local government.”

“The purpose of the Order is to set the boundaries of the new local government districts and their wards. After extensive public consultation, the Local Government Boundaries Commissioner recommended the boundaries of the 11 new districts.

“The Order will be considered by the Environment Committee. If councils or others have views on the boundaries, they will have the opportunity to advise the Committee. Before the summer, I hope the boundaries will be debated in the Assembly.”

The Minister confirmed that the reform of local government will be delivered by local representatives working alongside a Regional Transition Committee.