Belfast Telegraph

Identity crisis North Down councillors poles apart over name

By Rebecca Black

North Down Council is set to debate whether the super-council which will take over its duties has chosen its new name wisely.

The new North Down and Ards District Council - which currently sits in shadow form until its powers come into force in April - voted last month to rename itself East Coast Borough Council.

There has been criticism in the borough that the name does not adequately reflect the area.

Independent councillor Austen Lennon, who will propose a motion of concern, to be debated on January 28, claims residents were not adequately consulted about the name, and that it does not reflect the area.

Last month, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that at least £40,000 is being spent on rebranding the new North Down and Ards Council. Consultants presented the new super-council with 72 potential names, which councillors narrowed down to six: Ards North Down; East Coast; North County Down; North Down and Ards; LoughLands, and Peninsula.

The council voted by a majority of just one for the name East Coast, and the rebranding process is costing £23,400.

A new coat of arms is also being designed at a cost of £16,000. "I can guarantee that in 10 years they will change it again because they will realise East Coast means nothing to anybody," Mr Lennon told the Belfast Telegraph.

"North Down has spent millions putting North Down on the map for tourists around the world over the last 20 years, marketing to let Americans know where we are. Ards must have spent plenty on this too. We may as well as have poured that money down the drain because no one will know where East Coast is."

Council chief executive Stephen Reid said: "The £23,400 is not just for coming up with the name. It was for the market research that was done, consultation, workshops, and it will also cover the cost of developing a logo for a corporate identity, and then the implementation plan for it to be deployed on all the signage and stationery."

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