Environment Minister welcomes new planning arrangements for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council
Published on Mon, 23 Feb 2015 by firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following changes to planning services across Northern Ireland, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council now has two dedicated Planning Offices for the new Council area.In preparation for the transfer of planning to councils on 1 April 2015, the DOE has been increasing the number of its planning offices over the past number of months. This increase is to align planning offices with the new council areas so that each council will have its own planning office prior to transfer.
The offices are at County Buildings, Enniskillen and County Hall, Omagh.
The Council will also be the location of a regional Property Certificates unit which will operate out of the Enniskillen office and provide services to all 11 councils.
Welcoming this change Minister Durkan said: “Planning reform is about bringing forward improvements to the planning system, improvements that will bring planning closer to the public and make it easier for the public to access and participate in the planning process. This is part of the wider local government reform programme which will ultimately deliver local councils which are more effective, more efficient and more responsive to the needs of their local business and community.
"All 11 new councils need to be ready to assume their new responsibilities when planning functions are formally transferred to them. The establishment of dedicated planning services for the new Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area is another important step forward in this preparation and will help deliver a smooth and seamless transfer on 1 April.”
Presiding Councillor of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Thomas O’Reilly said:“I welcome the transfer of the Planning Function to the Council because from 1 April 2015 the majority of planning decisions will be taken locally.
"The Council will be responsible for the preparation of a new area development plan that will be linked to the community plan for the area. This gives the Council more influence over the spatial development of the area and will enhance its ability to deliver urban and rural regeneration, which is to be welcomed.
"A substantial amount of work has been done by Councillors and Officers to prepare for a seamless transfer of the function on 1 April.
"The Council is committed to ensuring that services are accessible to the residents of this large area, the largest geographically, of all the new councils, and I am delighted that the public will continue to be able to access planning services conveniently in both Enniskillen and Omagh.”
All planning applications and queries for the Fermanagh and Omagh Council area should be directed to County Buildings, Enniskillen or County Hall, Omagh. Both offices will offer full planning services.
If you are unsure which new council area you are in, you can find out at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/newcouncils
Notes to editors:
1. Planning functions transfer from central government to local government on 1 April 2015. From this date councils will be responsible for drawing up local development plans, making the majority of planning decisions, and shaping how their area grows and develops in ways that respond to the needs of the communities they serve.
2. Further information about the transfer of planning in general can be found in the Planning Reform section of the NIDirect website - http//www.nidirect.gov.uk/planning-reform.
3. To contact the planning office, members of the public can telephone as they do now using NI Direct number 0300 200 7830 (NI only) or 02891 513101.
4. For media enquiries contact the DOE Press Office on 028 9025 6058. Out of office hours contact the Executive Information service Duty Press Officer on pager 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.