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Northern Ireland round-up: Planning regime consultation, Durkan announces central and local government partnership

Words: Roger Milne
Northern Ireland

A round-up of planning news in Northern Ireland: 1 November-7 November, 2014

Consultation starts on more elements of reorganised planning regime

The Department of the Environment has started the second phase of a two-phase public consultation exercise into proposals to improve the planning process and establish a new two-tier planning system in Northern Ireland. This requires legislation and the consultation period runs to the end of the year.

The Planner 

Lough Neagh: Mark H Durkan tells firms to halt sand extraction

Construction companies have been told to stop extracting sand from the floor of Lough Neagh while the Department of the Environment considers the most “appropriate and proportionate” regulatory regime for the activity, which has been going on for over 70 years and predates current planning controls.

BBC News 

Durkan listens to South Down and Kilfeaghan farmers' ASSI concerns

The Department of the Environment has notified farmers, landowners and other interested parties that it has confirmed the designation of three Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) in the Mournes area.

Northern Ireland Executive 

Durkan announces new era of joined-up working between central and local government

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has announced that he will chair a new Partnership Panel with local government. The Panel is intended to improve co-ordination between departments and councils and help deliver better outcomes for local communities as local government reorganisation brings in its wake the transfer of planning, local economic development, local tourism and the introduction of new community planning powers.

Northern Ireland Executive 

George Best Belfast City Airport seats limit inquiry date set

The public inquiry into the proposal by George Best Belfast City Airport to change one of the planning conditions of its approval has been set for 23 March 2015. The airport operator has been trying to scrap a "seats for sale" restriction since 2004 - one the airport says limits its growth.

BBC News 

Doubling of Derry to Coleraine rail line costs ‘a calamity’

The railway upgrade between Belfast and Londonderry faces indefinite delays after Translink underestimated the cost of the second phase of the project by 100 per cent.

Belfast Telegraph 

£2.4m revamp for historic castle

A centuries-old castle that bore witness to some of Ireland's bloodiest battles is to be restored in a £2.4 million lottery project. Enniskillen Castle, on the banks of Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh, has been awarded the redevelopment grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Belfast Telegraph 

Storey launches completed masterplan for Holywood

Social development minister Mervyn Storey has launched a master plan for Holywood town centre.

Northern Ireland Executive