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Northern Ireland round-up: 40 per cent increase in Belfast decisions this year; Cross-border greenways - EU pledges 23m euros

Words: Roger Milne

A round-up of planning news in Northern Ireland: 10 December-16 December, 2016

40 per cent increase in Belfast decisions this year

Belfast City Council’s planning service has issued 1,443 decisions in the year to date - a 40 per cent increase over the same period last year.

The Planner

Public inquiry should be held into plans for Co Tyrone gold mine says minister

There should be a public inquiry into plans for a gold mine in Co Tyrone, infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard has insisted, following concerns raised by local residents over the use of cyanide at the Greencastle site as part of the process.

Belfast Telegraph

Cross-border greenways: EU pledges 23m euros

The EU has pledged more than £19.5 million to create almost 80 kilometres of new greenways linking towns and cities on either side of the Irish border. Funding will go to new projects connecting Newry with Carlingford and Londonderry and Strabane with Donegal as well as the second phase of the Ulster Canal Greenway scheme.

BBC News

Review of permitted development rights for mineral exploration launched

The Northern Ireland Executive has launched a public consultation on the review of permitted development rights for mineral exploration. Under these proposals exploration for oil and gas will require full planning permission.

Department for Infrastructure

Hazzard outlines next steps for the A24 Ballynahinch Bypass scheme

Infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard has confirmed that the A24 Ballynahinch Bypass scheme will go ahead after accepting the recommendations of the inspector who held a public inquiry into the project.

Department for Infrastructure

Belfast cinema site may become 3,000 staff office block

Belfast looks set to get one of its biggest ever single commercial developments as a result of plans to redevelop the site of a city centre cinema.

Belfast Telegraph

The Northern Ireland Housing Statistics 2015-16 is released

The latest annual Northern Ireland housing statistics have been published by the Department for Communities covering the period 2015-16.

Department for Communities

New Ebrington office space can make it an economic hub – Foster and McGuinness

The administration has said it will spend up to £5 million on a new, high quality office block at the site of the former Ebrington barracks. The scheme will be built on top of an existing underground car park.

The Executive Office

Newry residents tap into £6m upgrade of city's water supply

NI Water has celebrated the completion of a £6 million upgrade to Newry's water supply. The major investment took place between Ballydougan and Newry, increasing both water storage and supply.

Belfast Telegraph

Heat on Foster over disastrous 'green scheme'

First minister Arlene Foster is facing fresh calls to resign following new revelations over a bungled renewable heating scheme set to cost Northern Ireland upwards of €476 million.

Irish Independent

Submission and handling of representations practice note issued

The Department for Infrastructure has issued a revised development plan practice note covering submission and handling of representations related to development plan documents. This supersedes the practice note of April 2015.

Planning Portal

New campaign urging Stormont to invest £277m in the west

A campaign has been launched to ensure that £277 million of funding for Northern Ireland’s infrastructure is spent on improving roads and rail in the west – and particularly in Londonderry.

Coleraine Times