Fermanagh Area Plan 2007
Social Base: Recreation/Open Space/Community Needs
Sport and Recreation pursuits are elements of modern life which contribute to the well-being of the individual and the whole community. The provision of adequate recreational, social and cultural facilities within Fermanagh is the statutory responsibility of the District Council. The Department recognises the important role played by other bodies who contribute to the provision and development of sports, recreation and open space facilities. These include local sports clubs, education authorities, Forest Service (DANI), The National Trust and the Northern Ireland Sports Council. The Department's Environment and Heritage Service is responsible for the provision of Country Parks. Fermanagh is already well served by a wide range of facilities catering for the needs and demands of different groups :- Country/Forest Parks, sports grounds, golf clubs, town parks, playgrounds, fishing stands, picnic sites, museums, indoor recreation facilities and a theatre. Recent developments initiated by Fermanagh District Council have resulted in recreation facilities of regional or national significance e.g. the Canoe Centre on Castle Island, Enniskillen and the Ulster Lakeland Equestrian Park at Necarne Castle, Irvinestown. Demand for leisure activities and facilities has increased over time due to changes in life style, larger disposable incomes, unemployment, early retirement and increased health awareness. Fermanagh District Council currently operates informal agreements with other recreation providers, and there is scope for greater community use of existing provision through such dual-use of facilities. The District Council, under the terms of the Access to the Countryside (NI) Order 1983, has powers to designate public rights of way to create public paths and make provision for public access to open countryside.
Education in Fermanagh is largely the responsibility of the Western Education and Library Board (WELB) and the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) supplemented by a number of voluntary school authorities. With the exception of nursery education all levels, including University standard, are available within Fermanagh and the schools and colleges of the District have a reputation of providing a high standard of service. Over the last 10 years school rolls have remained fairly stable, but rationalisation of primary school provision has meant that some schools have closed. It is likely that during the Plan period a site will be required for a Nursery School in Enniskillen. WELB also provide libraries in Enniskillen, Lisnaskea and Irvinestown with the rural area catered for by the Mobile Library Service.
The Department of Health and Social Services is responsible for the provision of integrated health services administered through Area Boards. The delivery of health and personal social services in Fermanagh is the responsibility of the Western Health and Social Services Board. The Erne Hospital in Enniskillen provides hospital services for the District and this is supplemented by a number of health centres in the towns and larger villages.
Fermanagh District Council Community Services are responsible for co-ordinating programmes of support for community based initiatives in the area of greatest need. Assistance is provided to community groups in identifying projects for their areas. Six village based community centres have been provided by Fermanagh District Council and are managed by local groups under licence agreement.
In the present economic climate the Department recognises that many service providers are under financial pressure and will be seeking to rationalise their lands needs. Much of the emphasis of the Plan is therefore on the retention, improvement and development of existing facilities and services.
The Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons (NI) Act 1978 requires developers of specified types of buildings to provide suitable means of access, parking and toilet facilities to meet the needs of people with disabilities, where practicable and reasonable. The types of buildings to which the Act applies are those open to the public (such as shops, restaurants, hotels, places of entertainment, leisure and community buildings), places of employment and education buildings, i.e. most types of buildings other than those for residential use. The Department will ensure that the needs of people with disabilities or special requirements will be taken into consideration in the determination of planning applications for buildings to which the public have access and by measures to create a more accessible environment. Guidance for developers is given in the Department's Development Control Advice Note 11 entitled "Access for People with Disabilities".
- To ensure adequate provision of and convenient access to a range of sports facilities and public open spaces.
- To resist the loss of existing recreation/open space.
- To ensure that recreational and amenity development in the Fermanagh countryside maintains the existing character of the landscape.
- To encourage the maintenance and extension where practical of public footpaths and public rights of ways.
- To ensure a high standard of environmental quality associated with recreational development.
- To ensure that the land use needs of community services are met on appropriate sites and that facilities are located where they will be accessible to their user
- To encourage the retention of existing community facilities and services
The Department's Strategic and Regional Planning Policies for Recreation/Open Space/Community Needs are currently contained in "A Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland" published in September 1993.