Looking for information about a council service?
14th March 2000
Minutes of Meeting of Strabane District Council held in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, 47 Derry Road, Strabane on Tuesday 14 March 2000 at 7.30 pm
Present:- In the Chair:- Councillor J McNulty 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 Total = 12 In Attendance:- Dr McCallion, Foyle Regional Energy Agency Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Building Control Officer, Chief Technical Officer, Community Services Officer, Technical Services Licensing Officer, Committee Clerk
The Vice Chairman of the Council, Councillor McNulty, took the chair in the absence of the Chairman of the Council.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McBride, that item no. 10, Chief Technical Officer’s Report, be taken immediately after the minutes had been adopted.
Councillor O’Kane proposed, seconded by Councillor McHugh, that Officer’s reports be presented page by page rather than line by line. This was agreed.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor O’Kane, that the Council forward a letter of sympathy to the family of the late Patsy Gallagher, former journalist with the Strabane Chronicle, who had attended Council meetings for a number of years. The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) indicated that she had attended the funeral.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Environmental Committee held on 14 February 2000 were adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McBride.
The Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Council held on 14 February 2000 were adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McHugh, and signed by the Chairman.
The Report of the Finance & General Purposes Committee held on 15 February 2000 was adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McBride.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Cultural & Arts Committee held on 21 February 2000 were adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Barr.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 22 February 2000 were adopted as a true record, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McBride, subject to the following amendment:-
Page 6 – J/1998/0071 – Mr Charles McHugh, Derg View, Killeter Road, Castlederg
Councillor McHugh stated that the minute should read "The Club assumed their application would have got a fair wind but the decision to refuse was strongly defended by Planning Service". It was agreed that the Minutes be amended accordingly.
Page 12 – Castlederg Wall’s Site
In response to a query by Councillor Emery, the CTO advised that a meeting would be arranged shortly with DOE officials to discuss this matter. Councillor Emery urged that this matter be expedited.
Pages 12/13 – Traffic Calming Measures
Councillor O’Kane advised that road works had been carried out at Main Street, Strabane, but requested that Roads Service reinstate the road markings, poles and mobility spaces as a matter of urgency. It was agreed that a request be forwarded to Roads Service.
Page 13 – Laghel Road, Castlederg
Councillor Hussey remarked that work had been completed at Laghel Road but requested that Roads Service officials meet with Councillors on site to discuss the standard of work undertaken. This was agreed.
Page 13 – Flooding
In response to a query by Councillor Hussey, the CAO advised that Mr O’Neill, Rivers Agency, had indicated that a response would be received within one month.
Roads Service Matters
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Donnell, that Roads Service be requested to carry out resurfacing works at 60 Tyboe Road, Donemana.
Page 13 – Roads/Cemetery Provision/Parking in Newtownstewart Area
Councillor McBride queried the up-to-date position re. car parking provision at Ardstraw Cemetery, Newtownstewart which was discussed at the site meeting. In response, the CTO advised that he had not received any correspondence to date but undertook to pursue the matter further.
Page 14 – Department of Regional Development re. Free Travel for Older People
Councillor McBride stated that the Chancellor of the Exchequer currently had in the region of £8bn in the coffers and was, therefore, in a position to fund the above initiative and urged that strong representations be made accordingly. This was agreed.
CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER’S REPORT
The Chief Technical Officer (CTO) presented his Report, a copy of which was previously circulated. Discussion ensued with particular reference to the following:-
Lands at Melvin Park
The CTO updated Members on this issue and explained that in relation to the sale of the land it was necessary for Council to consider if it wished to retain a strip of the land adjacent to the existing flood wall to provide a riverside walk at some future date. He pointed out that preliminary layout plans were on display in the Council Chamber. In the event that Council agreed to this request, the District Valuer would be instructed to provide a valuation.
In response to a query by Councillor Donnell, the CTO advised that the Club’s representatives would be conducting a survey with the residents fronting the site and that this would also form part of the planning application. Councillor Barr remarked that to his knowledge a survey had already been undertaken. He pointed out that in the past the Council had leased pitches at Magirr as the play facilities at Melvin were totally unsuitable. Councillor O’Kane also indicated that it was his understanding that the residents were in favour of the proposals.
Following discussion, Councillor O’Kane proposed that the Council agree to the sale of the portion of lands and that the District Valuer be instructed to provide a valuation. Councillor Barr seconded the proposal with the proviso that the Council accept the recommendation regarding the retention of the strip of the land adjacent to the existing flood wall to provide a riverside walk in the future. This was unanimously agreed.
Development of Play Areas
The CTO explained that Council approval was now being sought to sign a letter of offer. Councillor O’Kane queried why Clady had not been included as a designated area. In response, the CTO advised that the Council had acquired a portion of land at Cluney Gardens and was earmarked for a play area. He explained that Clady had not been included in the submission to the District Partnership as it was based on the policy adopted by Council in January 1998 of redevelopment of existing play areas. He further explained that the Council would examine proposals from any community group which was interested in developing such play areas. Councillors McBride and Emery welcomed the letter of offer from the District Partnership. The CTO stressed that groups would have to assist the Council in drawing down funding for developments. Councillor Donnell welcomed the letter of offer particularly for the rural area. He queried whether the community groups worked closely with the Council. In response, the CTO advised that a meeting with the groups in Magheramason had been held recently and every assistance would be given, where possible.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor O’Kane, that the Council sign the letter of offer.
Vaughan’s Holm Changing Facilities
The CTO outlined the options for Council’s consideration. Lengthy discussion ensued during which Councillor Emery indicated that he was not in favour of option (a). Councillor Hussey referred to option (a) and suggested that in the interests of tourism, it may not be an opportune time to consider changes to the caravan park. With regard to (c) he remarked that games were frequently cancelled from October to February. He supported further investigation of option (b). In relation to option (d), he remarked that the distance from the facility relative to the pitches should be taken into consideration. Councillor Kerrigan supported further investigation of option (b). Option (d) would be the responsibility of an independent body and could be examined further.
Councillor McBride commented that he was not in favour of option (a). In relation to option (d), he commented that this facility would be in closer proximity to the pitches than some of the premises currently used for changing purposes. He remarked that £50 seemed an exorbitant amount but took into account hot showers and a caretaker facility and he felt the rate could be discussed in greater detail with the Club representatives. In respect of option (b) he felt that the Club should be encouraged to source funds from elsewhere and not be dependent on Council.
Councillor McHugh remarked that the Council had not supported St Eugene’s GAC in Newtownstewart and that this should be borne in mind. He felt that £25 per team was not an exorbitant amount and that the GAA Clubs did not use the facilities during the period October to February. He felt that option (b) would be a lengthy process and (d) was not located on Vaughan’s Holm. He reiterated his previous remarks in that the Council’s changing facilities were derelict and an eyesore. He felt that, dependent on availability, the facilities on Vaughan’s Holm should be used.
Councillor Barr stated that option (a) was not acceptable. With regard to option (b) he would not support the Council entering into a partnership with a Club which had to provide its own changing rooms. He felt that option (c) would be acceptable in the event that the teams were agreeable to paying same but would not be supportive of the Council subsidising this. He supported further investigation of option (d).
With regard to option ( c ), Councillor Hussey commented that the fee of £50 would be in addition to pitch hire etc. He expressed the hope that option (b) would not be ruled out but further investigated and that there may not be an expectation from the Club for Council to contribute funding. He suggested that the Council may be in a position to assist the Club to acquire funding and stated that in the past the Council had contributed to sporting clubs with regard to additional changing facilities. In response, the CTO commented that he was unaware of Council funding having been provided, as suggested by Councillor Hussey, but undertook to investigate the items highlighted by Members and to report back.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor Bresland, that the issues raised by Council be further investigated and a report brought back to Council.
The CTO advised that he had received correspondence from More O’Ferrall Adshel (UK) in respect of the bus shelter at Millbrook Gardens, Castlederg advising that they could not progress a development at this location.
The Report of the Chief Technical Officer was adopted, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McBride, subject to the foregoing.
TECHNICAL SERVICES LICENSING OFFICER’S REPORT
The Technical Services Licensing Officer (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 that as it had been some time since the original survey he had contacted the developer to ascertain if there had been any further houses booked or sold. Two further houses had been booked/sold and in a response to a query by Councillor McHugh, the TSLO explained that 5 no. people had now shown a preference for Stoney Heights, 3 no. for Garagh Heights, 1 no. had indicated a first preference for Millennium Heights and second preference for Stoney Heights and 1 no. had indicated a first preference for Fin Heights, a second preference for St Patrick’s View and third preference for Garagh Heights. A total of ten questionnaires were now on file and Council decision on the naming of the development was required.
Lengthy discussion ensued during which Councillor McHugh stated that there were 39 houses proposed for the site. He spoke of the difficulties which had been experienced to date in relation to the naming of the development and also the extensive press coverage. He felt that the developer should liaise with the residents regarding the preferred name and advise the Council of the outcome in due course. Councillor McBride remarked that the naming of the development should not be the responsibility of the Council.
Councillor Hussey proposed, seconded by Councillor Bresland, that the Council agree to the name "Stoney Heights" and that in the event that an alternative name was being suggested at a later stage that an approach then be made to Council.
The TSLO pointed out that some housing developments may not be completed for a number of years and deferral of the naming of the development until completion would cause problems for the householders. He also explained that the Council had the statutory responsibility to name housing developments.
Councillor Bresland queried whether legal fees would be incurred in the event that a housing development was renamed and who would be responsible for same. In response, the TSLO advised that under the new legislation the Council strictly did not have the powers to change names or house numbers of developments.
Councillor Barr proposed an amendment, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, that the naming of the development be deferred until the 39 houses were sold or alternatively that in the meantime if the residents on the site reached a unanimous proposal that the Council accept same at that time.
Councillor McBride proposed, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, that the Derg Councillors meet on site so as to reach a unanimous decision on the naming of the development and to report back to Council.
Councillor Hussey withdrew his proposal. Councillor Barr indicated that he was willing to withdraw his proposal in favour of Councillor McBride’s proposal. Councillor McBride’s proposal was unanimously carried.
Cullens Amusements Ltd
Request for Use of Melvin Park All-Weather Pitch
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Mrs Bell, that Cullens Amusements Ltd be granted use of Melvin Park for the same fee as 1999 and under the terms and conditions outlined in the report.
The Hollywood Stunt Show
Request for Use of Melvin Park All-Weather Pitch
The TSLO advised Members of the above request and stated he had received verbal assurances that the Council’s insurance requirements of £7.5m could be provided and that a Council decision was now required. Discussion ensued during which Councillor Barr queried whether account had been taken of the right of way between Bridge Street and Ballycolman and also along the flood defence wall. He commented that the Council had previously refused an application from a local Club which had sought use of the facilities at Melvin for a similar-type purpose. He commented that this issue highlighted concerns regarding public safety. He was also concerned that the Show would encourage young people to pursue this activity further and have a detrimental knock-on effect in the future. Councillor O’Kane stated that he had no objections in principle but was concerned about the public safety aspects.
In response, the TSLO advised Members that he had met with the promoter on site and that crowd control fencing would be provided with an outer fence to the rear of the spectator area with suitable emergency exits. The right of way could be maintained and that the promoter was prepared to meet with local associations and residents to allay any fears. He pointed out that the first Show in NI would be held in Belfast and he had indicated his willingness to visit same to allay any fears he had.
Councillor Barr proposed, seconded by Councillor McHugh, that a site meeting be arranged with local Councillors, representatives of the local Community Groups and the Stunt Show representatives.
In welcoming the show, Councillor McMenamin commented that admission fees were expensive and urged that consideration be given for a family ticket. It was agreed that representations be made accordingly.
Bye-Laws Prohibiting the Consumption of Intoxicating Liquor in Designated Places
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor Emery, that legal proceedings be initiated under the above bye-laws in respect of the 3 no. cases listed in the report. Councillors Barr, McHugh and McNulty asked to be recorded as abstaining.
Invitation to Opening of Omagh Street Drinkers Initiative
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor Mrs Bell, that all Councillors wishing to attend the launch of this Initiative in Omagh on 23 March 2000 should do so.
Councillor McNulty queried whether the Council had any responsibility for under-age persons entering public bars. In response, the TSLO advised that this was a police matter.
The Report of the Technical Services Licensing Officer was adopted, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McBride, subject to the foregoing.
CHIEF RECREATION OFFICER’S REPORT
The Community Services Officer (CSO) presented the Report of the Chief Recreation Officer, copy of which was previously circulated. Discussion ensued with particular reference to the following:-
Review of District Councils’ Community Services Programme
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor Barr, that one representative from each party attend the review seminar to be held on 5 April 2000 at Dundonald House together with Council Officials at the discretion of the Chief Executive.
Community Relations Action Plan 2000/2001
Councillor McHugh referred to page 8 of the plan relating to public order and which stated that all parades had passed off peacefully and queried who had supplied this information. He explained that he had requested this information the previous year but was still awaiting a response. In response the CSO advised that law and order information was obtained from the RUC and undertook to seek clarification on how the statistics were recorded and report back. This was agreed.
Culture and Identity Youth Project
In response to a query by Councillor Barr, the CSO advised that the Drop-In Centre "Utopia" was located on Dock Street and they liaised closely with the Council’s Community Relations Officers. It was agreed that the sum of £625 be allocated to cover the costs involved in running the project.
Derg Valley Leisure Centre
Councillor Hussey stated that although he supported the principle of astroturf provision, he would be concerned that small scale provision at the Leisure Centre would restrict the potential development of a district wide facility. In response, the CSO advised that clarification would be sought from the Leisure Services Officer and that a feasibility study into the likely impact on other provision would be undertaken. Councillor Hussey pointed out that the Chief Recreation Officer was aware that overall pitch provision throughout the Council area was to be fully investigated and astroturf provision could be incorporated within this.
Charity Football Match
The CSO advised that the staff at Melvin Hall could facilitate the request for the centre to be open on 17 March 2000. She also confirmed that the hire of the facilities would be met by the match organisers.
Councillor O’Kane declared an interest in this item of business.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, that the request be granted.
NI Carriage Driving Association
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor Hussey, that representatives of the Association be invited to make a presentation to Council on their project. Reference was made by Councillor Kerrigan to problems which had arisen in the past regarding skip hire but explained that another Council had in fact provided the service. This was agreed.
Brian O’Nolan (Flann O’Brien) Birthplace
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, that the Council request the Valuation & Lands Agency to carry out a valuation.
Action Multiple Sclerosis
The CSO advised that a request had been received from Action MS requesting use of Gray Printers for a flag day on 18 March 2000 and that insurance cover would be provided. This was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor McMenamin, seconded by Counillor Hussey.
Councillor O’Kane requested that soundproofing be carried out in the volley ball court at Melvin Hall and steps be taken to prevent condensation/dampness in the ceiling area. It was noted that this item was included under the Confidential Section of the report.
The Report of the Chief Recreation Officer was adopted, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McBride, subject to the foregoing.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor Bresland, that the meeting go "Into Committee".
CHIEF BUILDING CONTROL OFFICER’S REPORT
The Chief Building Control Officer (CBCO) presented his Report, a copy of which was previously circulated. Discussion ensued with particular reference to the following:-
Foyle Regional Energy Agency
The CBCO introduced Dr McCallion, Foyle Regional Energy Agency (FREA) to Members and he presented his report on the Foyle region.
Dr McCallion explained that FREA was established under the European Union SAVE Initiative. The Agency was funded by Derry City Council, Limavady Borough Council, Strabane District Council, Coolkeeragh Power plc, the NIHE, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and NIE plc. An energy audit was undertaken to review energy consumption trends in the Foyle Region which consists of three Council areas, namely Derry City Council, Limavady Borough Council and Strabane District Council. A number of copies of the energy audit would be made available to Members and the findings were summarised as follows:-
There were approx. 12,500 households in the Strabane District Council area which spend £9m per year on heating and lighting their homes. Assuming only moderate levels of economic and population growth, this figure will rise in real terms to £12m by the year 2005. Solid fuel makes up around half of domestic fuel consumption - the widespread use of solid fuel combined with electricity for space heating gives the North West a disproportionately high fuel bill and higher CO2 emissions levels. The energy audit shows that it is on average more expensive to heat a home in the North West than in the rest of NI. Throughout NI, the use of oil-fired central heating is spreading (100,000 households changed from coal to oil or vice versa and coal dual systems) from 1991 to 1996. The trend has not been repeated to the same extent in the North West. The extension of the natural gas supply to the North West will provide householders with reduced fuel costs and reduced harmful emissions. A natural gas supply for householders in the North West could provide annual savings of around £180 per year per household and reduce CO2 emissions by over 40% per home. Assuming only a modest penetration of the coal fired sector, FREA estimates that within 5 years of the natural gas supply being made available in Strabane, the savings to householders in Strabane will amount to £600k pa (£3m in the three Council areas). NIHE is reviewing its home heating policy and it is most likely that gas central heating will be made available to all its tenants where a natural gas supply is available. The anticipated £600k reduction in fuel bills could be shared by NIHE tenants – who are among the poorest section of the population. The Climate Change Levy (CCL) will result in increases in the cost of electricity, natural gas, coal and oil. A number of derogations are under consideration and it is possible that the CCL will be restricted to industry only for the foreseeable future. The application of the CCL to natural gas consumption in the industrial sector will reduce the commercial attractiveness of using or converting to natural gas and have a detrimental effect on the extension of natural gas supply beyond Belfast. The Group 22 Gas to the North/North West campaign has been arguing for a further derogation for NI from the CCL. It is hoped that the opt-out will apply until the natural gas network has been extended to the North and North West.
The commercial and industrial benefit to the North West of natural gas is vitally important to the viability of the whole project. Thus the application of the CCL to NI could prevent natural gas being made available outside Belfast and will have far-reaching implications for the future economic and social development of Strabane and the North West.
The FREA audit has revealed that the total energy spend in Strabane is £25.5m per annum rising to £38m per annum by 2005. Cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and draught-proofing will reduce domestic heat loss by around 50% resulting in savings of over £100 per annum. The FREA promotes free and impartial energy efficiency advice to the domestic sector and operates an advice centre which is supported by the Energy Saving Trust – tel. no. 0800 512012 for advice on how to reduce their bills and for information on grants, cash backs etc.
Herdmans, Sion Mills, has access to a clean, environmentally friendly, renewable source of energy. The Sperrins, which is a peripheral area, will not be considered favourably for gas, however, there is a new grant aid source for farmers to assist them with alternative sources of income to save energy costs. Existing and potential renewable energy sites, some of which were located in the Strabane area, were included on a map for tourism purposes. FREA would continue to provide impartial advice and it was hoped that the Council would continue to provide funding.
Councillor Hussey welcomed the presentation and sought clarification on whether the CCL would have a negative impact on the competitiveness of gas and FREA’s views on energy from waste facilities. In response, Dr McCallion stated that if CCL is applied it will either result in a slowing down of the process or elimination, also, gas may come to Coolkeeragh but it would not be extended to Strabane. There were a number of issues relating to energy from waste and a central facility would be needed to store waste which would require a number of authorities joining together. As a follow-on to this, Councillor Hussey made reference to the NWRCBG strategy and that additional Councils were now coming on board.
Councillor Bresland pointed out that a windmill farm was located at Moorlough and could perhaps be included in the map referred to. He queried whether grants were available for windmill farms. In response, Dr McCallion advised that FREA had made strong representations to Ofreg regarding the changes to the £1 per customer scheme.
Councillor McMenamin queried whether electricity prices for consumers would be cheaper in the event that Coolkeeragh was operated by gas and the timespan envisaged for gas being extended to Strabane if the CCL is implemented. In response, Dr McCallion stated that the cost of electricity would be determined by market demand and stipulations by Ofreg, also, a lot was dependent on the three bids submitted.
Reference was made by Councillor Barr to the six projects through Interreg which were successful in the Derry area whilst the application from Silverbrook Mill was unacceptable and queried the reasoning for this. Dr McCallion stated that it was intended to focus on the Strabane area in view of the high levels of deprivation.
Councillor McBride supported the call for gas to be extended to Strabane and grant aid for farmers developing alternative sources of energy in the rural areas but pointed out that wind farms were expensive to set up. He queried why CCL was applied to gas in preference to oil and coal etc. Dr McCallion explained that oil is heavily taxed. A mature natural gas network operated in England and was being applied to the NI situation despite the differential.
Councillor O’Kane queried if FREA would support the Council in its campaign to extend gas to Strabane in the event that it came to Derry. Dr McCallion stated that FREA was committed to the Councils which supported it. The Robson indices were continually highlighted in the campaign for the North and North West. Dr McCallion pointed out that the Council’s Chief Executive had been forceful in relation to Group 22’s representations and a holistic approach for the North and North West would continue to be made.
The Chairman, on behalf of the Council, thanked Dr McCallion for his informative presentation and efforts on behalf of the Strabane area. Dr McCallion responded accordingly and left the meeting at this point.
The DCBCO explained that amended drawings had been received in respect of the following applications:- BR/1999/113 – Terry & Gerard Mahon, BR/1999/254 – Charles O’Goan, BR/1999/286 – Harry McDermott, BR/1999/365 – Sean Duffy, BR/1999/372 – St Anne’s Primary School, BR/2000/007 – Liam McHugh, BR/2000/008 – James Lee, BR/2000/015 – Yvonne Deuxberry, BR/2000/017 – Tommy O’Neill, BR/2000/018 – William Fulton.
In respect of BR/1999/279 – Melmount Community Care, an extension of seven days had been requested. With regard to BR/1999/329 – Liam Sweeney and BR/1999/367 – John Duffy, an extension of 21 days was agreed. In relation to BR/1999/360 – Victor McMahon, an extension of 28 days had been requested and it was further agreed that the respective extensions be granted after which time refusals would be issued in the event that the necessary information was not received.
It was unanimously agreed that legal proceedings be instituted against Mr Patrick J McHugh, as outlined in the report, in accordance with Article 21 of the Building Regulations (NI) Order 1979 for non submission of plans.
It was agreed that legal proceedings be instituted against Mr Gary McLaughlin, as outlined in the report, in accordance with Article 21 of the Building Regulations (NI) Order 1979 for non submission of plans.
Sight Lines at Derg Valley Leisure Centre
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Hussey, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, that Mr Walls be permitted to set back the entrance gates and wing wall to the Leisure Centre to accommodate the necessary sight lines, as outlined in the report.
Foyle Regional Energy Agency
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McBride, that the Council support the Agency at a cost of £3,000.
Local Authority Energy Advisory Service
The Chairman pointed out that the Council was not a member of ALANI. Councillor Hussey proposed, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, that the Council would support the work of the LAEAS.
Dangerous Structure – Stables at Melmount Road, Sion Mills
The CBCO explained the background to this dangerous structure. He also advised Members that he had been in contact with the Environment & Heritage Service (E&HS) and voiced concern regarding the dangerous state of the property. Representatives of the E&HS were to visit the site earlier that day and had indicated that they would be serving the owner with a repair notice for the building. If the owner failed to undertake remedial works within three months E&HS would acquire the building and offer it for auction.
The CBCO informed Members that since his report was prepared he had discussions with the owner who had given an undertaking that remedial works would be carried out. However, if the developer failed to respond within two weeks as agreed a report would be brought back to the next meeting as to the way forward for Council and the implications involved. Councillor Bresland advised that a number of approaches had been made to the owner requesting remedial works. Councillor Hussey welcomed the work carried out to the Gate Lodge.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Bresland, that the Council defer a decision for a fortnight after which the CBCO would report back.
The Report of the Chief Building Control Officer was adopted, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Mrs Bell, 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:-
Western Board Oral Health Strategy – Strabane Locality
The CEHO informed Members that the above strategy would be launched on 20 March 2000 and Councillors would be notified in due course.
Discussion ensued during which Councillor Hussey suggested that school tuck shops be encouraged to stock healthier options. In response the CEHO confirmed that this was being taken on board and that bottled water could also be offered in vending machines. He urged that Councillors who were Governors of Schools use their influence to encourage Community Dental Service into schools and draft letters had been prepared in this respect.
Local Agenda 21
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Bresland, that the Council adopt the general principles of the Local Agenda 21 Strategy, as outlined in the report.
New Opportunities Fund – Green Spaces and Sustainable Communities
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor McBride, that the Council support this Initiative, as outlined in the report.
Healthy Living Centres
The CEHO advised that an all-day seminar would be held on 13 April 2000 in the Council Offices and Councillors would be notified in due course.
NI Computer Review and Development Committee for Environmental Health
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McBride, that the CEHO participate in this review from 27 to 28 March 2000.
Activate Health Programme
The CEHO explained that he was seeking permission to allow a member of staff to attend the training and also to set up and run the programmes outlined in his report.
Discussion ensued during which Councillor Barr proposed that Councillors also avail of the benefits of this programme. Councillor Hussey queried whether there would be close liaison between the various initiatives and the CEHO confirmed that the open day would ensure a focused approach on Healthy Living Centres. Following a further query by Councillor Hussey, the CEHO advised that there would be no financial outlay by the Council other than the Officer’s time. However, the way in which the programmes for Council staff were delivered would have to be investigated.
It was agreed that a member of staff attend the training and that the points raised above be taken on board.
Plastic in Pizza – Complaint Ref. FS/9063
The CEHO outlined the background to this complaint and explained that it was being recommended that a letter warning Safeways, Glanbia and St Ivel be sent in line with that recommended by the Council’s legal advisors.
Councillor Barr proposed, seconded by Councillor McBride, that the Council forward warning letters as outlined.
Lengthy discussion ensued during which Councillor O’Kane voiced concern at the course of action being suggested by the Council’s solicitors given that this incident could have resulted in the death of the person consuming the food. He also voiced concern that sufficient care had not been taken and that an assurance had not been given that the incident would not recur. He felt that warning letters were not a sufficient deterrent to prevent recurrence. In response to a query by Councillor Bresland, the CEHO advised that two blocks of cheese, from separate manufacturers, had been placed in the mechanical grater and it was not possible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the source of the plastic. He also explained that the Council had no right to pursue negligence.
It was agreed that the Council issue warning letters to Safeways, Glanbia and St Ivel in line with the recommendation of the Council’s legal advisors.
The Report of the Chief Environmental Health Officer was adopted on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Bresland, subject to the foregoing.
Tenders for Letting of Lands
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McBride, that 7 No. tenders received for letting of lands at Magirr - Bradley Way, Carricklee, and adjacent to Strabane Cemetery at Milltown be opened and signed by the Chairman of the Council and Chief Executive.
Traffic Calming Measures – Ballycolman Avenue
Members noted contents of letter dated 21 February 2000 received from Roads Service, copy of which was previously circulated, advising that the above contract had recently been awarded to R J Maxwell and was due to commence on 1 March 2000.
Councillor Barr pointed out that the work had not yet commenced at Ballycolman Avenue and the CAO undertook to follow this up with Roads Service and also to request an update on Townsend Street/Meetinghouse Street.
Free Transport for Senior Citizens
Members noted contents of letter dated 23 February 2000 received from the Department for Regional Development, copy of which was previously circulated, advising that there were no future plans to have further pilot schemes, however, noted the Council’s interest in this matter.
Consultation on the Draft New TSN Action Plans
Members noted information received from the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister, copy of which was previously circulated, re. Consultation on the Draft New TSN Action Plans.
Unsatisfactory Condition of Essan Road, Castlederg
Members considered letter dated 28 February 2000 received from Mr McMenamin, 22 Essan Road, Castlederg, regarding the unsatisfactory of Essan Road and requesting that action be taken. It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor McHugh, seconded by Councillor Hussey, that a meeting be set up with the Derg Councillors and Roads Service officials to discuss this matter.
Winter Pressures December 1999/January 2000
Members noted letter dated 15 February 2000 received from the Chief Executive, Altnagelvin Hospitals Health & Social Services Trust, enclosing a report on the first peak demand period for medical admissions to Altnagelvin Hospital and advising that the year round pressures would be examined in a future review.
Burial Right Grants
The following Forms of Grant of Right of Burial were signed and sealed on behalf of the Council:-
156 Fyfin Road
STRABANE - 1 Plot
1 Craigmonaghan Lane
CASTLEDERG - 2 Plots
Colleen Ann Kelly
133 Springhill Park
STRABANE - 1 Plot
Co Antrim - 1 Plot
13 Five Acres
STRABANE - 1 Plot
STRABANE - 1 Plot
Strabane Drama Festival
The CAO advised Members that invitations for the Strabane Drama Festival had been circulated to all Councillors. This was noted.
National Association of Councillors
Members considered letter dated 21 February 2000 received from the National Association of Councillors inviting nominations for the appointment of a Women’s Officer as a means of encouraging women to take a more active role in Local Government. It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, that the Council nominate Councillor Mrs Bell and that her c.v. be forwarded accordingly.
A5 Victoria Road Realignment, Leckpatrick
Members considered and noted letter dated 9 March 2000 received from Roads Service advising that the above contract has been signed with Deane Public Works Ltd. and will commence on site early next month, the first of Roads Service’s Chancellor’s Initiative schemes to reach construction stage. Also, the design work on the Strabane by-pass Stage II scheme is well advanced and the A5, Newtownstewart by-pass and Omagh by-pass stage III are progressing very well.
Sioux Falls Visit to Strabane
The CAO referred to memo dated 14 March 2000 from the Economic Development Officer, copy of which was tabled, advising that Sioux Falls visitors would be in Strabane from 18 to 21 March 2000. Permission was being sought for a Chairman’s reception to be held on Monday 20 March from 12.30 pm to 2.00 pm to which all Councillors were invited. It was agreed that the Vice Chairman host the reception, in the absence of the Chairman.
Netwin Project – Announcement of Funding
The CAO referred to memo dated 14 March 2000 from the Economic Development Officer, copy of which was tabled, regarding the above project and advising that a meeting of the co-ordinators/consultants would be held in Strabane on 23 March 2000. It was requested that a Chairman’s reception be held. It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor O’Kane, that the Vice Chairman host the reception, in the absence of the Chairman and that any Councillor wishing to attend should do so. The CAO indicated that she would forward a reminder to all Councillors for this and the Sioux Falls reception.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor McBride, seconded by Councillor Barr, that the meeting go "Into Committee".
Publications – Members’ Library
It was agreed that the following publications received be placed in the Members’ Library:-
Western Health & Social Services Council – Minutes of Meeting on
3 February 2000
Report from the Board of the NIHE on 23 February 2000
Disability Action Annual Report 1998-1999
Sperrins Tourism Limited Board and Executive Group Meetings held
QUB Vice-Chancellor’s Report 1998-99
ESDP European Spatial Development Perspective, May 1999
The meeting closed at 10.15 pm.
DATED this 14th day of MARCH 2000
Clerk and Chief Executive
DATED this 28th day of MARCH 2000
Vice Chairman of the Council