Planning Portal

Durkan gives planning permission for Northern Ireland’s first young people’s indoor safety village

Published on Tue, 17 Sep 2013
Northern Ireland is to get a full sized indoor state-of-the art village constructed as an aid for safety for young people.
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan today announced planning permission for Northern Ireland’s first RADAR (Risk Avoidance and Danger Awareness Resource) which will include a road crossing, bus, train, car, house, police station, court room, dark alleyway, farm scenario and park scene.
The innovative new facility will open at Harbour Court East Belfast, in September 2014, creating three new jobs and twenty part time jobs. It will provide first class interactive safety focused experiences for children and young people up to the age of 24 from across the province.
The centre will feature key issues of fire, road, water, farm, travel and personal safety are covered along with vandalism, drugs and alcohol, consequences of crime, anti-social behaviour, environmental responsibilities and what to do in an emergency.
Primary Six and Primary Seven children will experience dangerous situations and scenarios within a risk free environment. They will have an opportunity to learn ways in which everyday hazards can be prevented, avoided or managed. Young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 year will be able to explore issues around personal safety and social responsibility along with an insight into the consequence of actions.
RADAR is the result of a multi agency partnership headed up by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service.
Mark H Durkan said: “This facility will play a vital role in the safety of our children. RADAR will become a crucial resource where children and young people will be taught vital life skills that will remain with them throughout their lives. I am particularly passionate about this scheme as it promotes strategies that help children and young people deal with emergency and dangerous situations in a safe and secure environment.
“I’m certain that children and young people who visit this virtual village will never forget the valuable lessons learnt.
“I have been encouraged to see that my officials have worked proactively with the applicant to assist them in selecting an appropriate site and to consider issues likely to arise. This decision, like a number I have announced recently, has been turned round quickly. This shows the planning system can and is delivering a better environment and stronger economy for the community.”
Fifteen such centres exist within the UK, primarily concerned with working with and targeting children and young people within the age ranges of 10-11 years and 16-24 years old.
Julie Evans, Centre Manager from DangerPoint in Talacre, Flintshire in Wales, said: "DangerPoint has recently celebrated its 50,000th visitor to the centre. Since opening, we have expanded our range of visitors to include older pupils, additional learning needs pupils, parents of young children and older people's tours. We also run cognitive behaviour courses for young people who have shown fire setting behaviours. We have really positive feedback from all the visitors and they often come back for a repeat visit during our public opening times.
“We are extremely happy to hear that Northern Ireland has just received planning permission and look forward to seeing their centre operational. We wish them all the best of luck.”
Mrs Cheryl Barry, a teacher from Ysgol Sychdyn in Flintshire, who visited DangerPoint in Wales, said: "The pupils found it extremely informative. They often recall events and will sometimes point out their understanding to other pupils. Since the visit parents have since reported that children were identifying hazards in their own homes."
Notes to editors:
1. The application Z/2013/0884/F was received by the Department on 2 August 2013. The proposal is for conversion of light industrial unit to safety awareness centre with associated office accommodation to include external alterations at Unit 26, Harbour Court, Heron Road, Sydenham Business Park, Belfast.
2. The application was made on behalf of the NISLEC partnership (Northern Ireland Safety and Life Skills Education Centre).
3. No letters of objection/support were received.
4. The application was processed as a streamline application as a proposed conversion of an existing vacant light industrial unit. Presentation to Belfast City Council was not required prior to the issuing of a decision.
5. A total of five departments have pledged their full support for the project both in monetary terms and with support in kind. Two main cash donations are from the Department of the Environment (£105,000 plus a contribution towards revenue costs) and the Department of Justice (£995,332). Support in kind has also been secured from the Department of Regional Development, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service. Further Public and Private support has been pledged by: NIE, Princes Trust, Translink, and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
6. For artist’s impressions of the proposed centre, photos of the centre in Wales and any media enquiries please contact the DOE Press Office on 028 9025 6058. Out of office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
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