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Review of Planning Policy on Renewable Energy

Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon, has announced a review of the region’s strategic planning policy on renewable energy.  She said:  

“The planning system has played a key role to date in helping to achieve and exceed Northern Ireland’s renewable electricity target and I want to ensure that my Department’s regional planning policy remains up to date, robust and fit for purpose.  The planning system is where different and opposing interests often meet and there will be opportunities as the review progresses to hear from everyone who has an interest in this policy area. I want to ensure regional planning policy for renewable and low carbon energy truly furthers sustainable development and delivers in the long-term public interest”.

The Minister emphasised that the review will be informed by extensive public and stakeholder engagement to ensure that the new policy is up to date, fit for purpose and has the support of local communities.   Community Places has given advice to a number of community groups concerned about renewable energy proposals (including the proposal for a 33 turbine windfarm at Doraville which the Minister did not grant planning permission for), we thus look forward to the outcome of this review.  

 

22 April 2021

Minister Refuses Planning Permission for Doraville Wind Farm

DfI Minister Nichola Mallon has refused planning permission for Doraville Wind Farm which would have seen 33 turbines erected in the Sperrins Mountains.  Community Places assisted Broughderg Area Development Association (BADA) object to this wind farm in the Sperrins Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The Association first approached us in 2015 for advice on objecting to the planning application and we provided advice and support throughout this long-running and complex case which culminated in a Public Inquiry held in September 2019 by the PAC (Planning Appeals Commission). 

In reaching her decision the Minister said: 

“The PAC report indicates that the scale of the proposal and the sheer magnitude of the associated change has the potential to detract from local people’s sense of place and connection to the land.  My aim is to improve people’s lives, not add to their burden so taking all of this into account, and in line with the PAC recommendation, I have decided to refuse this application.”

 

27 October 2020

AGM 2020

Community Places held its first virtual Annual General Meeting on 20 October 2020.  The ongoing restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic prohibited us from meeting face to face this year and we held the meeting via Zoom.  We were delighted to welcome representatives from our member groups in Belfast, Coleraine, Newry, Carrickfergus, Newtownards, Trillick, Derry and Rathlin Island to the meeting.  Staff also logged in from their remote working locations.  Chaired by Raymond Jackson of the Confederation of Community Groups Newry and District the meeting discussion was lively and it was encouraging to interact with friends old and new.  We very much appreciate the ongoing support of our members in these challenging times. 

Members agreed the audited accounts for March 2020; re-appointed the Board of Directors and auditors; and adopted this year’s Annual Report

Our staff continue to work remotely.  Please email us if you need to get in touch.  Or call our temporary mobile number (07783 649288).

23 October 2020

TAK£500! Your community, your voice, your choice!

Do you have an idea that you feel would have a positive impact on your community? If so, look no further than the ‘Tak£500’ PB Fund which is led by Armagh, Banbridge Craigavon Community Planning Partnership. Communities can apply for up to £500 for a project that will benefit their area - and best of all, it is the local residents who decide which projects should go ahead!

So how does it work? Tak£500 is a Participatory Budgeting initiative which means that local people get a direct say in how public funds are used to address local needs. 

Both constituted groups and non-constituted groups can apply for funding – and ideas must be based around the ‘Take 5 Ways of Wellbeing’. These are five simple steps to help maintain and improve your wellbeing on a daily basis.

So all you have to do is fill out the application form, and if you meet the simple criteria you will then move onto the next round where you will be asked to submit a short video to showcase your project bid. This video will be hosted online and you will have the opportunity to get your community to rally behind you and vote for your project! The projects with the most public votes will then be awarded £500 to make their initiative happen!

The Lord Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Kevin Savage commented:“Tak£500 is a fantastic way for our local communities to really take ownership of their areas and to secure funding for projects that they want to see happening on their doorsteps. I know that many people within our communities have brilliant ideas that will have a positive impact on their area."

Find out more and apply to TAK£500

Tak£500 has been supported by a range of organisations including the PSNI, PCSP, Sport NI, Public Health, Southern Trust, Department for Communities, West Armagh Consortium, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the Council, Business Partnership Alliance, Carnegie Trust and the Community and Voluntary Panel.

 

2 October 2020

YOUth Making it Happen!

An exciting new youth led and designed PB process has launched today across the Derry and Strabane District Council Area. Over the last few months young people from across the city have been involved in shaping and designing the YOUth Making It Happen! PB process.

The young people on the co-design team commented on their experience: "We’ve really enjoyed working on the project, we got to choose the themes and were involved in every aspect of the decisions – this has made it more youth centred and the process much more open. The fact that so many people will be involved in making the final decision about who will be funded makes it much more democratic. We’re not making assumptions about what people want, we’re letting them choose and that’s really important.”

Mayor Tierney joined some of the team for the launch this week at Guildhall Square, and praised the work that has gone into the PB process to date. "Participatory Budgeting offers a real opportunity to empower local people and actively involve them in decision making and the distribution of support within their local areas," he explained. "Council were keen to involve young people in the delivery of this PB resource, and I'm extremely impressed at the progressive ideas and creative approaches that the youth co-design team have come up with. Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19 they have remained committed to the project, and are really keen to inspire other young people to participate in bringing about positive change."

You can find out more about the YOUth Making It Happen PB process at growderrystrabane.com/youthpb and get involved to have a direct say in how the budget of £20,000 is allocated across the city.

Watch the YOUth Making It Happen! video

 

8 September 2020

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