Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Titanic electoral area proposed

The Titanic visitor centre has been established as part of the rehabilitation of the doomed liner's legacy

A new Titanic electoral area has been proposed under the shake up of local councils in Northern Ireland.

Parts of East Belfast, including the dock where the famous liner was completed, could be renamed in time for next May's elections of 11 super-councils with enhanced powers, the commissioner charged with overseeing the reorganisation said.

Belfast City Council will expand to the south and west under District Electoral Areas Commissioner Richard Mackenzie's provisional recommendations, following a Stormont Executive decision to slash the number of councillors by 120.

Ulster Unionist City Council member Jim Rodgers said: "The name Titanic has that sense of place, it is in keeping with the city."

The district electoral area, one of the basic building blocks of the council, has been known as Victoria since the 1973 council reforms, named after Victoria Park.

Parts of the nearby docks have been rebranded as the Titanic Quarter while a visitor's centre, businesses and apartments have been established as part of the rehabilitation of the doomed liner's legacy. It was built in the shipyard a century ago.

Mr Rodgers said Victoria extended beyond the shipyard, a factor possibly obscured by the name Titanic.

"Victoria is a name which people have lived with and accepted but with the name Titanic at least people will know it is there and that is why probably the majority of people would be happy enough to accept that."

He added: "It maybe is right to change the name because of the historical connections."

Local government is taking over extra powers including local regeneration and planning under reforms reducing 26 councils to 11. The greatest changes in council boundaries were made in the Causeway Coast and Glens council area, Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, Mid and East Antrim and Mid Ulster. Fermanagh and Omagh are virtually unchanged.

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