Magherafelt Area Plan 2015
Strategic Plan Framework: Education and Community Uses
Responsibility for the provision of educational facilities in the District rests with the North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB), the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS), the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) and Comhairle na Gaelscolaoichta (Council for Irish Medium Education) supplemented by a number of voluntary authorities. The Department of Education, the Department for Employment and Learning, and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure retain overall authority for education policy and finance.
It is currently the overall responsibility of the Health and Social Care Board, (HSCB) to assess the health and social care needs of the population and to secure the care to meet those needs in keeping with available resources. Provision of community health and social care services to meet those needs is the responsibility of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.
The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety retains overall responsibility for policy and funding of major capital works.
Consultation with the relevant authorities has not identified a need for the Plan to safeguard land for future education and community use development. Further details on education and community uses are contained in the Education Technical Supplement.
Regional Policy Context
The Regional Development Strategy (RDS) seeks to facilitate the development of education, health and commercial services, cultural and leisure amenities necessary to meet the needs of a growing population.
The RDS identifies Magherafelt as a local service centre. Decisions on the future location of new public sector development for a variety of functions, including health and education, will take into account the role of the town.
The Department's regional planning policies for community needs are currently set out in the Rural Strategy.
Supplementary Planning Guidance is contained in Development Control Advice Note 9 'Residential and Nursing Homes' and Development Control Advice Note 13 'Créches, Day Nurseries and Pre-school Playgroups'.
The enrolment levels in controlled and maintained primary schools at 2010/2011 indicate both sectors have significant spare capacity. However, Spires Integrated Primary School, in Magherafelt town, which opened in 1999 has exceeded its capacity. A significant amount of spare capacity in the primary sector is found in the villages and rural area.
At secondary level there is spare capacity in the controlled sector whilst the voluntary sector is slightly over subscribed. The Sperrin Integrated College opened in 2002, is now almost at full capacity. There is one college of Further and Higher Education in Magherafelt – The Northern Regional College, Magherafelt campus.
Libraries and Youth Services
Libraries NI are responsible for library provision within the District. There are 4 branch libraries in the District and 3 mobile libraries.
Youth clubs operate throughout the District from various premises owned by Magherafelt District Council, churches and schools. There is a controlled youth centre in Magherafelt Town. Various other organisations operate widely throughout the District such as Boys Brigade, Girls Brigade, Girl Guides, Scouts etc.
Applications for planning permission for community related facilities will be considered in the context of prevailing regional planning policy and the Plan Proposals.
Current policy is contained within the Rural Strategy and PPS 21 – Sustainable Development in the Countryside. Unforeseen demands for new community facilities may arise over the lifetime of the Plan. Accordingly, a flexible approach is required in considering such development within settlement development limits in order to make the most effective use of existing facilities, infrastructure, utilities and resources. For the purposes of interpreting this policy, Community Use refers to those uses specified in Classes C3 and D1 of the Planning (Use Classes) Order (Northern Ireland) 2004 .