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11th April 2000
Minutes of Meeting of Strabane District Council held in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, 47 Derry Road, Strabane on Tuesday 11 April 2000 at 7.30 pm
Present:- In the Chair:- Councillor I Murtagh Other Members:- Councillors Mrs A Bell, I Barr, D A Bresland, J Donnell, J Emery, D Hussey, T Kerrigan, T McBride, C McHugh, E McMenamin, J O’Kane, E Turner MBE Total = 13 In Attendance:- Clerk & Chief Executive, Chief Environmental Health Officer, District Chief Building Control Officer, Acting Head of Recreation, Technical Services Licensing Officer, Committee Clerk
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Cultural & Arts Committee held on 20 March 2000 were adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor McHugh, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, subject to clarification on the following:-
Page 4 – Dr Henry A Jeffries
The Chairman remarked that the sum of £10,000 was a substantial sum of money for the purchase of books by Omagh District Council. It was noted that Strabane District Council had agreed to purchase 5 no. books at £40. It was agreed that this matter be clarified.
Page 4 – Dr Henry A Jeffries
Councillor Barr proposed that the number of books ordered be clarified. This was agreed.
The Minutes of the Millennium Committee Meeting held on 20 March 2000 were adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor McHugh, seconded by Councillor Emery, subject to the following amendments:-
Page 1 – Attendance at Meeting
Councillor Barr stated that he had been present at the meeting and his comments on various issues had been recorded, however, his name had been omitted from the attendance list. It was agreed that the Minutes be amended accordingly.
Page 2 – Clipper Carlton Band
Councillor Hussey stated that he had concurred with the comments that there were numerous bands which deserved recognition in some form, but he would not have used the term "cautious". It was agreed that the Minutes did not reflect Councillor Hussey’s comments accurately and that they be amended accordingly.
Page 2 - Clipper Carlton Band
In response to a query by Councillor McMenamin, the Acting Head of Recreation (AHR) advised that this matter was being investigated and an update was awaited from the Museum Assistant.
Page 2 – Millennium Clocks
The Chief Executive informed Members that the Clocks would be removed by the end of the week. The issue of outstanding sponsorship had not been resolved yet but was being pursued. Councillor Barr spoke of the publicity gained by the sponsors through advertising on the clocks and suggested that the Council should consider publicly highlighting the lack of payment of sponsorship money. The Chief Executive undertook to pursue full reimbursement to Council and to report back in due course.
Page 2 – Commemorative Millennium Medals
Councillor Emery stated that another Centenarian had recently passed away in Strabane and expressed disappointment that a medal had not been presented to her. The Chief Executive explained that the Council had been investigating samples of medals and was nearing the finalisation stages.
Lengthy discussion ensued during which Councillor O’Kane expressed disappointment at the delay experienced which he felt reflected negatively on the Council. Councillor Barr accepted the reasoning for the delay but urged that a hasty decision should not be made regarding the design of the medallions. Councillor McHugh expressed disappointment at the lengthy delay and urged that steps be taken to ensure that the Council arrange for a fitting tribute to be made to those people whose lives had spanned the three centuries without any further delay.
The Chief Executive apologised for the delay experienced, which had been previously acknowledged. He confirmed that approaches had also been made to the Crystal companies requesting a fitting tribute to be designed for the Council.
Councillor McMenamin proposed that the Council present a floral or similar-type tribute to those Centenarians who resided in the Council area as soon as possible. Also a photocall with the Council’s Chairman or his representative could be organised. In seconding the proposal, Councillor Barr proposed an addendum that, with immediate effect, any citizens within the Strabane District Council area who reach the age of 100 should be issued with a letter of congratulations from the Chairman of the Council. Councillor McMenamin accepted the addendum to his proposal. This was agreed.
The Chief Executive undertook to arrange for samples of crystal and medals to be presented to Council the following week. This was agreed.
The Report of the Finance & General Purposes Committee Meeting held on 21 March 2000 were adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Mrs Bell.
Page 2 – Litter Bins
Councillor Hussey advised that environmental improvements were underway in Millbrook Gardens and school children would be involved in a litter pick in the area. He had received a request for litter bins to be placed within the Estate and asked that the appropriate Council officials liaise with the Millbrook Community Association regarding the number of bins required. This was agreed.
Page 2 – B H Glazing Ltd
Councillor O’Kane pointed out that the Strabane Weekly News had vacated the Pagoda last week and enquired if the Council had been notified. In response, the Chief Executive advised that the lease had expired at the end of March. This was noted.
Pages 3 & 4 – Grotto, Townsend Street, Strabane
In response to a query by Councillor McMenamin, the Chief Executive advised that he would be reporting back to the Finance meeting on this issue.
Page 4 – West Tyrone Voice
Reference was made by Councillor McHugh to recent letters in the press regarding this group and in particular in relation to its AGM. He stated that if he had had sight or any knowledge of the content of these letters, he would have been opposed to the Council taking any decision without the full facts having been placed before Members.
Page 6 – Gingerbread
Following a query by Councillor O’Kane, the Chief Executive advised that the various issues highlighted would be reported back to the Finance Committee. This was noted.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 28 March 2000 were adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Turner.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McHugh, that item no. 15 on the agenda, planning application – W & J Chambers Ltd, be taken next as it related to page 6 of the Minutes.
Page 6 – Planning Application No. J/1998/0446 – W & J Chambers Ltd, Ballyheather Road, Strabane
Members considered letter dated 31 March 2000 received from the Minerals Unit, Planning Service, suggesting a course of action in preference to the Department’s representatives debating the issue with either the applicant or the objectors.
Lengthy discussion ensued during which Councillor O’Kane stated that he took exception to the dictatorial approach which he felt Planning Service had adopted. Councillor Hussey remarked that a number of the meetings had already been held. The Chief Executive advised that the Chief Administrative Officer had been liaising with the Minerals Unit and provisionally arranged a meeting for 27 April at 2.00 pm to further discuss the issue.
Following lengthy discussion it was suggested that a Council meeting be held with representatives of the Minerals Unit, DOE Roads Service, the objectors and the applicant in attendance. Councillor McBride proposed that the meeting be chaired by the Chairman of the Council. This was agreed.
Councillor Donnell remarked that the Council was increasingly being asked to consider controversial planning applications i.e. telecommunications masts, sand and gravel pits etc. and he queried Council’s position where decisions to refuse were reached. He also enquired if it would be appropriate to obtain a legal opinion. Councillor Bresland queried the situation whereby a surcharge could arise. In response, the Chief Executive stated that the Council had a consultative role and the question of a surcharge could arise in the event that the Council acted beyond its statutory duty or authority. He stated that in his opinion the Council was acting within its authority. The only difficulty which he could foresee was the protracted nature of consultation rather than the decision itself. He undertook to seek advice at Council’s request.
Councillor Barr proposed, seconded by Councillor McBride, that a Council meeting be held on 27 April 2000 at 2.00 pm with representatives of the Minerals Unit, DOE Roads Service, the objectors and the applicant in attendance at three consecutive stages and that it be chaired by the Chairman of the Council. It was felt that a maximum of one hour should be permitted for each group.
The Chief Executive concluded by stating that the Department had a duty of care to reach a conclusion on planning matters. With regard to the applicant’s attendance at the Council meeting, this would be a voluntary decision.
Voting took place on the proposal and it was carried with ten Members in favour, none against and two abstentions.
Councillor Donnell requested that the Environmental Health report be circulated to Members and this was agreed.
Page 14 – Regional Strategic Framework for NI
Reference was made by the Chief Executive to the recent meeting in Omagh District Council Offices at which a number of Councillors were present. He explained that Mr Murray and Mr Greer would be preparing a detailed response on the current round of consultation. Attempts had been made to convene a meeting with Strabane District Council, however, it was now felt more appropriate to support the preparation of a collective response by the two officials on behalf of the Group in view of the tight timescale i.e. 31 May 2000, and the volume of work which has to be undertaken.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor Bresland, that Mr Murray and Mr Greer be invited to meet with Council as soon as possible to make a presentation.
Page 14 – Castlederg Wall’s Site
In response to a query by Councillor Emery, the Chief Executive advised that the Chief Technical Officer had been in contact with the relevant bodies regarding the removal of the rubble. It was understood that a private owner had removed some of the rubble and the removal of the remainder was being pursued with the DOE who owned the site. In the event that the DOE was not prepared to remove same he suggested that the Council should proceed with the removal of the remaining material.
Page 14 – Roads/Cemetery Provision/Parking in Newtownstewart Area
In response to a query by Councillor McHugh, the Chief Executive confirmed that an update would be brought before Council shortly. Councillor McBride pointed out that a Roads Service official from the Omagh office had been in attendance and had undertaken to report back to Council. Councillor McBride explained that he would be unable to attend the Roads Liaison meeting the following day but suggested that an update could be sought from the Roads Service officials at that time. The Technical Services Licensing Officer (TSLO) advised that the Council had received two letters in relation to this matter and the CTO was presently addressing these issues. Councillor McHugh requested that the Council forward a letter to Fr Kearney outlining the up-to-date position and this was agreed.
Page 14 – Road Infrastructure
Councillor Donnell proposed that item no. 12 on the agenda, letter from Water Service re. Leckpatrick Sewerage Scheme, be brought forward for discussion with this item as they were interlinked. This was agreed.
In welcoming the proposed sewerage scheme at Leckpatrick, Councillor Donnell pointed out that work had not yet commenced on site despite the assurance that it would commence in April. He pointed out that a considerable delay had already been experienced to date in relation to the commencement of this scheme but expressed the hope that it would progress shortly.
REPORT OF TECHNICAL SERVICES LICENSING OFFICER
The TSLO presented his report, a copy of which was previously circulated. Discussion ensued with particular reference to the following:-
Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (NI) Order 1995
Naming of New Housing Development on Castlefin Road, Castlederg
The TSLO advised Members of the details of the recent site meeting and that a decision on the naming of the development was now required by Council. Councillor Hussey proposed, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, that the development be named "Stoney Heights".
Councillor McHugh proposed an amendment. He explained that he had attended the site meeting and one resident had indicated a preference for Garagh Heights and felt that this should be taken on board. He was of the opinion that the Council would be wrong to take a decision to name the development on the strength of the opinion expressed by five of the residents. He also pointed out that a new developer would be taking ownership of the next phase on the site within the next two weeks and may wish to have an input. He reiterated the point that the developer had failed to notify the residents of the name "Garagh Heights" and he felt that those who purchased houses were unduly influenced by the developer. He quoted from a letter which he had forwarded to each of the residents on the site and had stated that he would not support the naming of the development whilst 6 people lived there.
On a point of accuracy, Councillor McHugh stated that the Council had taken a decision on 14 March 2000 that Derg Councillors meet on site so as to reach a unanimous decision on the naming of the development. A unanimous decision had not been reached and he felt it would be wrong for the Council to name the development Stoney Heights.
Councillor McHugh proposed an amendment, seconded by Councillor O’Kane, that the naming of the development be deferred until the 39 no. houses were sold or alternatively in the meantime until the residents reached a unanimous decision that the Council accept the proposal at that time.
The Chairman commented that he had attended the site meeting at which there was fair and honest debate. He indicated that he would be supporting the majority decision taken by the residents and remarked that developments are named prior to houses being sold. Councillor McHugh contended that there was no statutory requirement for a development to be named in order for it to be sold. He said it could be referred to as a development as per the TSLO’s report which stated "naming of new housing development on Castlefin Road". The Chairman commented that the residents in a housing development could alter the name if they so wished.
Councillor McHugh contended that the Council could not overturn its previous decision. The Chairman responded by stating that unanimity was difficult to achieve. Councillor McHugh commented that a post code had been issued to the residents by the TSLO at the site meeting and this was acceptable to the Post Office and facilitated the legal formalities. He further stated that the Council was committed to the preservation of townland names and that Garagh Heights had a strong connection with the area.
Councillor Donnell proposed that the proposal be put to the floor and that voting now take place.
Councillor O’Kane requested clarification on a point of order and the Chief Executive quoted the relevant section from the Standing Orders. The Chairman stated that in his opinion the matter had not been fully discussed and he, therefore, would allow the proposer and seconder to speak.
In speaking to his motion, Councillor McHugh stated that his amendment related to the deferral of the naming of the development until the 39 no. houses were sold or that in the meantime if the residents on the site reached a unanimous proposal that the Council accept same at that time. He stated that the Council had already taken a unanimous decision. He felt that the views of the first person to buy a house on the site should be supported by the Council.
Councillor O’Kane stated that he had seconded the amendment as he considered that the contractor did not have the authority to name the development.
The Chairman stated that Councillor Donnell’s proposal would now be put. Councillor Bresland seconded Councillor Donnell’s proposal.
Councillor Barr suggested that it would be necessary for a rescinding notice to be submitted given that the Council had already taken a decision. The Chief Executive commented that it was necessary for Council to interpret Council’s intention when it took its decision, if the clear intention was to reach a unanimous agreement then a rescinding notice was required. If, however, the intention was to reach a majority view on the way forward then unanimity may not be required.
Councillor McHugh suggested that the Council’s Officer advise the residents of the situation. In response the Chief Executive urged caution against requesting Officers to become involved in any further discussions on site. He suggested that if it was the intention of Council in supporting the motion previously carried that in the event that a unanimous decision could not be reached that a majority decision would be considered acceptable then a decision could be taken.
The original proposer of the motion, Councillor McBride, stated that this issue had previously been debated to a considerable degree. He was of the opinion that the majority decision of the residents should be accepted. He referred to the procedure whereby residents could change the name if they so wished and asked if this was still the procedure. In response, the TSLO explained that under the old legislation if a two-third majority of the ratepayers of a road wished, the name could be changed, however, this legislation was amended and this had been brought to the Council’s attention. The Council now strictly did not have the power to change road names or house numbers but this matter was under consideration by the Department.
Councillor Turner stated that he had attended the site meeting and the residents had pointed out the situation regarding the details on their deeds and that legal costs would be incurred in the event that the name of the development was changed.
Councillor Barr stated that he would be in support of Councillor McBride’s original proposal that the matter be referred back to the Derg Councillors and the local residents and to report back to Council in due course.
The Chairman queried whether the Council was fair and realistic in expecting that the residents involved should reach a unanimous decision. Councillor Hussey stated that the majority of the residents and the majority of the local Councillors were of the same opinion.
The Chairman ruled that the Council move forward on this issue. He stated that in his opinion the motion was unreasonable to expect unanimity. He put it to the meeting that the housing development be named. Councillor Barr suggested that the Council’s Chairman could not rule on a decision in this way. The Chief Executive pointed out that he had highlighted earlier that the thinking in the mind of the Council at the time at which the decision was taken was crucial.
Voting took place on the amendment and it was defeated by four votes to seven with two abstentions.
Voting took place on the proposal and it was carried by seven votes to four with two abstentions. It was agreed that the housing development be named Stoney Heights.
Bye-Laws Prohibiting the Consumption of Intoxicating Liquor in Designated Places
In response to a query by Councillor Barr regarding the case referred to under 2 (b), the TSLO confirmed that he had explained the full procedure to the individual concerned but he had refused to accept the caution.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor McBride, that legal proceedings be initiated under the above Bye-Laws against the individuals listed under 2 (a) and (b) in the report. Councillor McHugh asked to be recorded as abstaining.
CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER’S REPORT
The TSLO presented the Chief Technical Officer’s report, copy of which was previously circulated, which related to the letting of lands.
The reports of the Technical Services Licensing Officer and the Chief Technical Officer were adopted, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McBride, subject to the foregoing.
CHIEF RECREATION OFFICER’S REPORT
At the outset of the meeting, Councillor O’Kane queried when the Chief Recreation Officer was due to return to work. The Chief Executive responded by stating that this matter must be dealt with "In Committee". This was agreed.
The AHR presented the Chief Recreation Officer’s report, copy of which was previously circulated. Discussion ensued with particular reference to the following:-
Lifelong Learning Initiative
It was noted that Councillors were being invited to participate in the seminars on 13 and 14 April in the Strabane Enterprise Centre.
Sperrins Tourism Limited
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McBride, that the Council approve the release of £12,000 for the current financial year.
Glenelly Football Club
The AHR explained that the District Valuer had submitted a valuation of £875 per annum for the 5 acres of land. The AHR advised that the additional charges would be incurred through grass cutting, pitch marking and a Council decision was required as to whether this could be facilitated.
Councillor Hussey welcomed the provision of additional facilities within the District Council area. He remarked that the hire of the pitch might well be less than the actual cost of undertaking pitch marking and grass cutting on a regular basis. He indicated support for the leasing of the land to the Club but suggested that meeting the costs incurred for marking and cutting might set a precedent.
Councillor McBride declared a non-pecuniary interest in the Club of which he was a member. He spoke of the difficulties experienced by the Club and explained that it was mostly the youth teams who would be availing of the facilities. He further explained that the Club would be willing to abide by the Council’s guidelines for leasing of the ground.
Councillor McHugh reiterated his comments that a clear distinction should be made regarding gaelic football and soccer indicating that the report should read the application from Glenelly Gaelic Athletic Club.
The Chairman proposed, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, that the Council proceed with the recommendation to release the sum of £875 for the lease of the land. Voting took place on the proposal and it was carried by 12 votes.
Councillor Barr proposed that the CTO investigate the implications of taking on board the requirement for pitch marking and cutting and this was agreed.
The Chief Executive reminded Members that the Audit & Staff Committee had agreed to include on the agenda for its next meeting details of all the applications for funding which had been submitted by groups throughout the Council area.
Leasing of Football Pitches in the Strabane District Council Area
Councillor McMenamin stated that a Club which leased pitches in Strabane on Saturdays appeared to receive preferential treatment i.e. changing rooms and hot showers etc. whilst other Clubs who booked on Sundays paid similar fees but could not avail of these facilities and were concerned about the no. of occasions when pitches were deemed to be unplayable. Councillors Barr and Mrs Bell expressed similar concerns. Councillor Barr also pointed out that on occasions it appeared that a referee could be persuaded by a specific Club to rule that the pitches were playable regardless of their condition whilst other Clubs were advised that the pitches were unplayable where similar weather conditions applied.
Councillor Hussey made reference to the Irish Football Association and explained that the Association could determine which teams should have priority bookings and pointed out that the Derry and District League were not affiliated to the IFA.
GAC Football Pitch, Castlederg
Councillor McHugh pointed out that the goal posts on the GAC pitch in Castlederg had not been painted for over two years. It was agreed that this matter be referred to the CTO for attention.
Remains of Bonfire, Hillview Park, Castlederg
Councillor McHugh stated that the remains of the bonfire at Hillview Park, Castlederg had not yet been removed despite several requests. In response, the Chief Executive explained that the CTO was pursuing this matter but was conscious of the need to remove the bonfire without causing further damage to the ground.
Sustainable Sperrins Seminar
The AHR suggested that the Council may wish to meet with the Sperrins Advisory Council. Councillor Turner advised that this group had previously made a presentation to Council at which time they had refused to support or promote any development in the Sperrins. He further explained that they had organised a seminar on the Sperrins but residents from the area had not been represented.
Councillors Hussey and Barr suggested that the Council’s representatives on Sperrin Tourism Ltd and Council officials meet with the Sperrins Advisory Council.
The AHR outlined the structure of the group, funding which had been secured and membership details. The Chief Executive remarked that there was an opportunity for both groups to compliment each other in relation to the development of the Sperrins.
In response to a query by Councillor McMenamin, Councillor Turner advised that Sperrins Tourism Ltd had distributed its newsletter to all householders in the Sperrins region. With regard to environmental protection, he explained that the Sperrins Advisory Council had stated that it would not be prepared to support a planning application for a dwelling in the Sperrins area where there were difficulties experienced. He explained, however, that Sperrin Tourism Ltd would continue to work with the Sperrin Advisory Council.
Councillor Barr proposed, seconded by Councillor Turner, that a meeting be arranged between the Council’s representatives on Sperrin Tourism Ltd and Sperrin Advisory Council to discuss the matter further. This was agreed.
Community Services Minibus
The AHR advised that the Foundation for Sport and the Arts had donated a fully adapted minibus to the Council for use by the community sector. The Foundation’s logos were currently awaited following which appropriate publicity would be arranged. A number of Members welcomed the minibus.
Councillor Barr proposed that effective measures be taken to ensure that the minibus was not subjected to abuse. The Chairman further proposed that a letter be sent to the Foundation expressing appreciation for its generosity and commitment to the district. Councillor Turner paid tribute to the efforts of the CRO in securing support from Mr Endicot towards this provision.
Mapping the National Cycle Network (NCN)
The AHR advised that it was anticipated that the Council should contribute between £1,000-£1,500 towards the production of this map. Members welcomed the inclusion of the District Council area in the cycle network. It was agreed that the Council release its contribution.
Tyrone Milk Cup Association
Councillor Hussey proposed that the Council support the County’s participation in this tournament. Councillor Donnell highlighted that he had raised queries regarding the selection and training venues the previous year. Councillor Barr advised that he had received some criticism from parents regarding the lack of financial assistance and queried whether the increase in the contribution from £600 to £1,000 could be justified. In response, Councillor Hussey advised that prior to last year one team had been entered, however, this had increased to two teams under 14 and under 16 hence the reason for the increase.
Councillor Hussey proposed, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, that the Council contribute the sum of £1,000 for the current year. Voting took place on the proposal and it was carried by 10 votes in favour, none against and two abstentions.
Following a query by Councillor McMenamin, Councillor Hussey advised that the Tournament would be held in the Coleraine area. Councillor McMenamin referred to the sponsorship provided from County Tyrone and queried whether any of the preliminary games could be held in this area. Councillor Hussey pointed out that a significant amount of sponsorship was paid by the Council which hosted the event in comparison with the other participating Councils. This was noted.
Following a query by Councillor Barr, the AHR advised that following an internal trawl, the Sports Development Officer had been appointed on a part-time basis for a one year pilot scheme. These duties would be carried out from 9 am to 1 pm from Monday to Friday.
It was unanimously agreed, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Bresland, that grant aid of £1,000 be awarded from the Community Services Budget.
Strabane Befriending & Counselling Association
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, that the Council fund £547.50 of the costs involved.
Lisnafin Ardnalee Trust Cross Community Development Association/Magheramason Community Association Twinning Trip
Ulster Project/American Visitors
Cross Community Information Day
Easter Bunny Day
It was agreed that the Council provide funding to the above groups as listed in the report.
Youth Soccer Coaching
Councillor Hussey sought clarification as to whether primary schools throughout the district were involved and whether contact had been made with the Sports Advisory Committee. In response the AHR advised that the implementation of the programme would be closely monitored by the Council’s Community Officers and it was proposed to work with a range of schools in the current year. Consultation had not taken place with the Sports Advisory Committee, however, this would be pursued to ensure complementarity and avoid duplication.
Councillor Hussey requested that primary schools throughout the district be encouraged to participate and Councillor McMenamin voiced his support, outlining the need for youth soccer coaching in the Strabane district.
Reference was made by Councillor McHugh to sports development funding provided by the District Partnership and queried whether the partnership established to deliver this were involved. The AHR advised that this project was being organised through the Community Relations Department and sought to encourage greater cross community contact as well as sports development, making its objectives slightly different from the sports partnership. Councillor McHugh queried whether the partnership could be consulted about the programme. The Chief Executive indicated that every effort would be made to ensure that there was no duplication or difficulty in the two programmes running in parallel.
Councillor McBride indicated that he was a member of the Partnership Board and the Sub Committee and different criteria applied to both groups with the partnership being concerned mainly with a club development programme.
It was agreed that the project be implemented subject to there being no duplication with other programmes.
The Report of the Chief Recreation Officer was adopted on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, subject to the foregoing.
The meeting adjourned for a tea break at 10.10 pm and reconvened at 10.30 pm.
CHIEF BUILDING CONTROL OFFICER’S REPORT
The Chief Building Control Officer (CBCO) presented his report, copy of which was previously circulated. Discussion ensued with particular reference to the following:-
The CBCO advised that the outstanding information in respect of BR/1999/323 – Wilfred Sinclair, BR/2000/023 – James Earley and BR/2000/0034 – R-ev Stephen Kearney, had been received and the recommendation of refusal was being withdrawn.
With regard to BR/1999/223 – WELB and BR/1999/275 – WELB, it was agreed that an extension of 21 days be granted after which time refusals would be issued. Councillor Kerrigan undertook to pursue both applications. This was agreed.
Stables at Melmount Road, Sion Mills
The CBCO advised that the Environment Heritage Service would be serving notice on the owner which would allow him 3 months to undertake work and if he failed to take note of the notice then the property would go to public auction.
The CBCO explained that savings of £9,425.00 had been identified through the operation of the combined heat and power unit between November 1998 and October 1999. This was welcomed.
Entrance to the Council Offices
The CBCO advised that the architect had visited the Council Offices the previous week and had submitted draft proposals by fax earlier that evening for security fencing at the front of the building. It was being suggested that ornate railings and black mesh fencing replace the existing security fencing and that appropriate landscaping be provided.
Councillor Barr supported the architect’s proposals and suggested that draft sketches be brought before Council for consideration. Councillor Donnell welcomed the provision of security fencing around the Council Offices.
The Report of the Chief Building Control Officer was adopted, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Turner, subject to the foregoing.
CHIEF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH OFFICER’S REPORT
The Chief Environmental Health Officer (CEHO) presented his Report, a copy of which was previously circulated. Discussion ensued with particular reference to the following:-
Information Technology Update
Web Site Design - The Chief Executive explained that Council would be kept updated and that Internet Business, the firm contracted to design the web site, would be requested to make a presentation to Council. It was agreed that any Councillor wishing to submit comments or suggestions should do so either to the CEHO or Chief Executive as soon as possible.
Review of Organisational Plan 1999/2000
Website - In response to a query by Councillor Turner, the Chief Executive confirmed that the cost for the design and production of the web site was £13,450.
Discussion ensued as to how many Councillors, if any, should attend the launch of the General Consumer Council’s new web site to be held on 13 April in Belfast. It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Hussey, that Councillor Turner attend.
Health and Safety at Work (NI) Order 1978 – Issue of Formal Caution
It was agreed that the Council issue formal caution on the proprietor, as outlined in the report.
Approval of Meat Products Premises under The Meat Products (Hygiene) Regulations (NI) 1997
It was agreed that approval be granted under the above legislation in respect of Classic Cuisine.
Bready Sewage Treatment Works
In response to a query by Councillor Donnell, the CEHO advised that he had received confirmation by telephone from Planning Service that permission would be issued shortly for the construction of Bready sewage treatment works. Outline planning permission had also been agreed. The CEHO further explained that this would ensure that the scheme would be included on the Capital Works Programme and that work could commence in the current year. Councillor Donnell welcomed this announcement which was long awaited.
The Report of the Chief Environmental Health Officer was adopted, on the proposal of Councillor Bresland, seconded by Councillor Turner, subject to the foregoing.
Marriage Law – Discussion Paper No. 6
Members considered report from the Chief Administrative Officer outlining the implications of the above discussion paper published by the Law Reform Advisory Committee for NI together with a recommendation that the Council welcome the changes as the existing legislation is outdated.
It was agreed, following discussion, on the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor McBride, that any Councillor wishing to submit comments should forward same to the Chief Executive as soon as possible.
Castlederg - Wall’s Site
Members considered letter dated 23 March 2000 received from the CRISP Project Officer, Planning Service, regarding the above site.
Discussion ensued during which Councillor McHugh stated that the letter had created confusion rather than clarifying the points raised by Council. He commented that the Castlederg & District Development Association (C&DDA) had a separate entity from the Castlederg Enterprise Centre. Councillor Hussey commented that to his knowledge the extension of the Enterprise Centre was being developed by the Enterprise Agency. He also remarked that initially the CRISP scheme which brought the land into DOE ownership was promoted by the C&DDA and this was a separate organisation from the Enterprise Agency.
With regard to meetings of the C&DDA, Councillor Hussey advised that he had been informed that the Council had neither contacted nor written to the group in the recent past. In response the Chief Executive confirmed that Council Officers had contacted the group on 6 & 24 March and 4 April. He further explained that the group had been written to on 14 April and that he had spoken directly to the group earlier that day and reiterated the request for a written response to be forwarded to the Council by 19 April.
The Chairman commented that it was his understanding that there was also a group set up and it was named "Castlederg & District Community Development Association".
Councillor Emery commented that the land which the DOE owned was located on the other side of the road.
Councillor Barr proposed, seconded by Councillor Turner, that the CRISP Project Officer, Mr McKane, be invited to meet with Council in order to clarify the matters raised. This was unanimously agreed.
Development by Lebreh - Bradley Way, Strabane
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor Turner, that the Council continue to pursue the Lebreh proposal with Planning Service.
Review of Off-Street Parking Order Legislation
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Hussey, that the Council welcome the proposal from Roads Service that no alterations would be applied to the car park tariffs within the Western Division.
Patient Charges for Television Services
Members considered letter received from the Secretary of the Royal Group of Hospitals Staff Side regarding the proposal to implement a paid television system. Councillor Barr voiced concern at the introduction of car parking charges some time ago and also the exorbitant charges imposed by private phone companies. He urged Council to object to the proposed charges for television services. Councillor McBride concurred with these sentiments and pointed out that television was a form of recreation for many patients. He suggested that the Council make strong written representations to the Chief Executive of the Royal Group of Hospitals and copy the letter to the two representatives of the staff side.
In supporting the comments raised, Councillor Hussey suggested that in addition to writing to the Royal Group of Hospitals that the Council's Health Council representative also highlight this issue at the next available meeting.
Councillor Donnell expressed reservations regarding the use of televisions within Wards particularly where they caused annoyance to patients.
It was agreed that representations be made as outlined above.
Nominations for Appointment to the Police Authority for NI
Councillor Donnell proposed, seconded by Councillor Turner, that Councillor Kerrigan be nominated for appointment to the Police Authority for NI.
Councillor McBride proposed an amendment, that the Council should not make a nomination given that the Police Authority was due to be changed as a result of the Patten report.
In seconding the amendment, Councillor McHugh stated that the Council should not make a nomination to the Police Authority as over the years it had served a discredited police force which would be changed by the implementation of the Patten Commission report.
Voting took place on the amendment and it was defeated by six votes to four. Voting then took place on the proposal and it was carried by six votes to four.
Strabane By-Pass Stage II - Environmental Statement
The Chief Executive informed Members that details of the Direction Order and Environmental Statement received from Roads Service had been previously circulated to Members and drawings were on display in the Council Chamber. Comments on the Environmental Statement prepared by the Group Principal Environmental Health Officer (Pollution Control) and the Council's Countryside and Access Officer had also been circulated to Members.
Discussion ensued during which Councillor Kerrigan welcomed the proposals, however, urged that it be connected to Hamilton's Corner so as to prevent further road fatalities at this location. Councillor Hussey concurred with these sentiments and pointed out that the route could continue along the old railway line. Councillor McBride queried whether the proposals incorporated the original route highlighted by Roads Service. The Chief Executive explained that two consultation exercises were involved, namely the Direction Order and the Environmental Statement and that the Council could consider pursuing the details of the road line in the Direction Order with Roads Service officials rather than submitting an objection.
With regard to the Environmental Statement, Councillor Hussey suggested that arrangements be made for Councillors to walk along the proposed route so as to familiarise themselves with the area. Councillor Emery commented that a dwelling house was built on the railway line. Councillor Bresland stated that two further dwellings had been granted planning permission.
The Chief Executive suggested that Roads Service be requested to attend an office meeting with Councillors to discuss the matter further and that, if necessary, a site meeting take place immediately afterwards. This was agreed.
Burial Right Grants
The following Forms of Grant of Right of Burial were signed and sealed on behalf of the Council:-
Mrs Mary Sproule
13 Killen Park
CASTLEDERG - 2 Plots
Mr Robert Reid
19 Riverview Crescent
LONDONDERRY - 1 Plot
Mr William Nolan
18 Townsend Street
STRABANE - 1 Plot
Social Security Agency
The Chairman advised Members that a letter had been received from the Social Security Agency expressing appreciation for the Charter Mark reception which was organised by Council. This was noted.
Dispute - Fire Service
Reference was made by Councillor Hussey to letter received from the NI Fire Brigade advising that the Fire Brigades’ Union intended to ballot its members for industrial action as a result of the introduction of new contracts of service for recruit firefighters.
Councillor Hussey proposed that the Council pledge its support for the Fire Brigades’ Union and also invite representatives of the Union and the Fire Authority to meet with Council to discuss the matter further. This was agreed.
Rural Community Network (NI)
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Emery, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, that any Councillor interested in attending the launch of Rural Relationships and Reconciliation to be held on 19 April 2000 in Draperstown should do so. It was noted that the cost per delegate was £66.00.
Publications - Members' Library
It was agreed that the following publications received be placed in the Members' Library for perusal by anyone interested:-
Minutes of Meeting of the Foyle Health & Social Services Trust Board held on
4 February 2000
Minutes of the 227th Meeting of the Western Health & Social Services Board held on 27 January 2000
Minutes of the 87th Meeting of the Western Health & Social Services Council held on 2 March 2000
Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister Third Annual Report on Public Appointments
Review of the Criminal Justice System in NI
Business in the Community - Three Year Strategic Plan - Towards 2003
International Fund for Ireland Annual Report & Accounts 1999
Railtrack - Sustaining and Developing Britain's Rail Network
- Customer Plans, Zone Plan and Route Strategies
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Emery, that the meeting go "Into Committee".