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Plans to split Co. Derry town into three voting zones dropped by Boundary Commission

Proposals to split a town into three voting zones have been dropped as the final revised Westminster boundaries for the North were published.

Changes will reduce the number of constituencies in the North from 18 to 17, part of a wider reform to reduce the number of elected British politicians from 650 to 600.

Largely nationalist Dungiven in Co. Derry was to be divided between three constituencies but the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland recommended that the ward be transferred in its entirety from Mid Ulster to Sperrin constituency.

Almost 10,000 petition signatures and letters were received by the organisation responsible for drawing up a new Northern Ireland constituencies map.

Final parliamentary boundaries were approved and published by the British Government today, largely as anticipated with only two changes, to Dungiven and the predominantly rural area of Mallusk on the outskirts of north Belfast.

On Dungiven, the Commission said: "We accept that this is an arguable point and acknowledge the weight of public support for it."

The old West Tyrone constituency will be renamed Sperrin.

The Commission added: "A compromise solution is possible which would not require any wards to be split, namely to transfer Dungiven ward from Mid Ulster to Sperrin."

Belfast retains its four constituencies.

The Commission said: "Many argued that Mallusk ward should remain in South Antrim rather than being transferred to Belfast North.

[quote]"The main factors cited were to keep Mallusk within its existing constituency and to respect its predominantly rural character."[/quote]

"We accept this argument and accordingly recommend that Mallusk should remain within the constituency of South Antrim."

The Boundary Commission had to design new constituencies with populations as similarly-sized as possible.

Holywood in Co. Down prompted objections to its transfer into the East Belfast seat as it could cut ties within the town itself, but the Commission said other options would raise significant new issues with neighbouring constituencies and rejected a change.

The Commission also ruled out a rethink in Mid Down, which had been suggested following concerns over local ties.

The list of Commons constituencies for Northern Ireland as set out in the final recommendations of the current boundary review, covering unchanged, amended and new seats - with their December 2015 electorates.

Belfast East - 70,079

Belfast North - 73,285

Belfast South - 69,881

Belfast West - 73,732

Causeway - 74,360

East Antrim - 74,733

Fermanagh and South Tyrone - 71,038

Foyle - 71,398

Mid Antrim - 70,409

Mid Down - 77,767

Mid Ulster - 71,501

Newry and Armagh - 75,635

North Down - 73,444

South Antrim - 76,489

South Down - 76,924

Sperrin - 72,899

Upper Bann - 69,795