Environment Minister welcomes a dedicated planning office for Mid and East Antrim council
Published on Mon, 9 Feb 2015 by firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the introduction of new arrangements for planning across the province, Mid and East Antrim council now has its own dedicated planning office 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.
Some work has transferred from the planning office in County Hall, Ballymena, to these new offices leaving the staff and work of the office solely dedicated to the new Mid and East Antrim council area.
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. Having a dedicated planning office for the new Mid and East Antrim council area is another important step forward in this preparation and will help deliver a smooth and seamless transfer on 1 April.”
Councillor Gordon Lyons, Chair of Mid and East Antrim Council Planning Committee, commented: “Planning is one of the areas in which people will notice significant change in local government. This is not change for the sake of it, but change so that we can do things better. From 1 April, Mid and East Antrim Council will have responsibility for planning matters and I hope that people will find this a more transparent, but more importantly, a more efficient way of doing things.
I want Mid and East Antrim to have a planning system that directly benefits local people, our businesses and our environment and grows our economy. We want to use these new powers for maximum advantage. I believe that we have put in place a system which reduces red tape and speeds up the planning process – a system which people can have confidence in. I want investors to see Mid and East Antrim as a place they can do business in.”
All planning applications and queries for the Mid and East Antrim council area should be directed to County Hall, Ballymena.
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.