Consultation on a proposed blueprint for planning policy, which will determine the growth and development of the Mid Ulster District until 2030, has opened today (7 November 2016).
The ‘Proposed Options Paper’ from Mid Ulster District Council represents the first step on the road to the creation of a new Local Development Plan for the region, the first to be devised for Mid Ulster since planning powers transferred to local government in April 2015.
The consultation document runs to some 150 pages and sets out the Council’s strategy for the ‘spatial’ development of Mid Ulster up to 2030 and highlights the approach which the Council proposes to take to a range of issues, from housing in urban and rural locations and economic and tourism development to telecommunications and renewable energy.
Members of the public are being invited now to consider some key questions around the proposals and to feedback their views, either directly to the Council or through a series of community meetings and exhibitions which are being held across Mid Ulster in the coming months.
Speaking at an event to launch the consultation document, Chair of the Council, Councillor Trevor Wilson, said:
“The transfer of planning was one of the most significant powers to revert to councils as part of the reform process and with it, came responsibility for the future strategic development of the district, something that local government had long argued should sit with local people and not in a central department where the nuances and needs of local communities can be so easily overlooked.
“With the publication of our Preferred Options Paper, we have reached the first milestone on the road to the creation of a truly Local Development Plan for Mid Ulster. We want this to be a meaningful engagement with the local community and this is the time to for local people and other interested parties to consider the potential approaches, to feedback their views to allow us to ensure the final development plan for Mid Ulster until 2030 is truly ‘local’”.
Addressing the audience at the launch event, Councillor Sean Clarke, Chair of the Council’s Planning Committee, detailed the contents of the Preferred Options Paper, and highlighted key questions:
“The questions we’re asking are relevant to everyone in some shape or form. Given that two thirds of our population live in rural areas, many of our residents will have a view on how we manage the expansion of business and enterprise in rural locations, just as they will on the extent of the flexibility we should have on new dwellings in rural areas.
“How do people feel the 11,000 new homes in Mid Ulster should be shared across the district? What are the opinions on how our town centres should be developed?
“We want to hear from the communities in each town and village about how the places where they live and work should develop. What should be the direction of growth, what land should be developed and what land should be protected from development?
“All of these issues impact on local people and I look forward to receiving views from a broad range of people which we can then take into account as move towards the final version of our Local Development Plan”.
The Preferred Options Paper is available to view at the Council offices in Cookstown, Dungannon and Magherafelt and on-line at www.midulstercouncil.org/developmentplan.
An ‘easy read’ version is also available on-line and further information about the consultation meetings is available from the Council’s Development Plan Team on 03000 132 132 (ext 23501).
Comments should be made in writing before 27th January 2017 to Dr Chris Boomer, Planning Manager, Mid Ulster District Council, 50 Ballyronan Road, Magherafelt, BT45 6EN or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.