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Residents win Planning Appeal at Hearing

Residents living beside an industrial steelworks site in the countryside have welcomed the decision that the expansion of the site is unauthorised and must cease.  The Planning Appeals Commission issued its decision following detailed arguments presented by the residents with the support of Community Places.  Louise O’Kane, planner with Community Places, said “this is an important decision for the local residents and sets a precedent for how industrial development in the countryside should be properly planned and managed”. 

The site in question is in the townland of Tievenagh near Dungannon and full details of the case can be found here.

23 March 2015

Village SOS Launch

The Rural Community Network is delivering and co-ordinating Village SOS, a campaign that aims to help and inspire rural communities across the region to start or develop projects and/or social enterprises by providing mentoring and practical support across a wide range of areas.   The formal launch of Village SOS will take place on Thursday, 26 March 2015 (from 12.30 pm to 2.30 pm) in An Carn Conference Centre, Tirkane, Maghera. 

For information about Village SOS please contact Fergal at RCN (telephone 8676 6670).  If you would like to attend the launch on 26 March 2015 contact Teresa at RCN

5 March 2015

Rural Proofing Bill Consultation

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is running a public consultation exercise from 3 February to 16 March 2015 on proposals for a Rural Proofing Bill.  The proposed Bill would require policy makers to assess whether proposed policy is likely to have a different impact in rural areas compared with elsewhere.  It will support the equitable treatment of rural dwellers by requiring their needs and the impact on rural communities to be appropriately addressed in the development and delivery of policy and public services.  The consultation documents can be accessed on DARD's website

As part of the consultation exercise, DARD is hosting a series of public meetings to hear your views. The times and locations are:

  • Thursday, 19 February 2015 from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm in the Old Town Hall, Banbridge
  • Friday, 20  February 2015 from 11.30 am to 1.30 pm in Garvagh Community Building, Garvagh
  • Wednesday, 25 February 2015 from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm in CAFRE Loughry College (Cookstown)
  • Thursday, 26 February 2015 from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm in CAFRE Greenmount College (Co Antrim)
  • Monday, 2  March 2015 from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm in CAFRE, Enniskillen Campus
  • Tuesday, 3  March 2015  from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm in the Old Court House, Markethill
  • Wednesday, 4  March 2015  from 10.00 am  to 12.00 noon in The Pavilion, Stormont Estate, Belfast
  • Thursday, 5  March 2015 from 2.00 pm to  4.00 pm at Omagh Forum for Rural Associations, Omagh
  • Friday, 6 March 2015 from 2.00 pm to  4.00 pm in Glenshane House, Dungiven

To register to attend, or for more information, email: or telephone 028 9052 4106.

23 February 2015

Consultation on Draft Community Planning Guidance

The DoE is holding four public consultation events on the draft guidance on Community Planning to gather views to inform the guidance:

Register attendance by emailing with your name, organisation and confirming which event you would like to attend.  The consultation document is available to download from the DoE website.

10 February 2015

Environment Minister Faces Legal Challenge over Newry Out of Town Development

Traders in Newry are pursuing legal action over the granting of planning permission for a mixed use scheme on the outskirts of Newry. The proposal includes 70 industrial and business units, a supermarket, 14 homes, a coffee shop, car parking and general landscaping.

The Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade is calling for the planning decision to be quashed saying it will damage city centre investment particularly the extension to the Quays Shopping centre.

When making his decision Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan, said he was satisfied the existing city centre retail offering was strong enough to compete with the new supermarket. However traders argue that the Department acted irrationally in the weight it gave to any economic benefits.  Further grounds of challenge include failure to comply with the Habitats Directive and the potential effects of pollution to Newry River.

The legal action will proceed to a full three day hearing in May 2015.

27 January 2015