Government spending £100k to advertise new supercouncils, including Mid Ulster

editorial image

Taxpayers will have to foot a £100,000 advertising bill ahead of the launch of Northern Ireland’s new super councils, including the Mid Ulster Council.

The cash-strapped Northern Ireland Executive is spending the sum of money to publically announce the changes in local government which take effect from April.

The advertising campaign aims to increase awareness of and promote the benefits of local government reform.

According to the Department of Environment, the campaign includes TV advertising, 48 sheet billboards, bus side panels, print and online advertising.

As well as media buying, the budget also covers development of the advertising creative, market research, testing of creative options and campaign evaluation.

As well as merging Dungannon, Magherafelt and Cookstown council areas, the new Mid Ulster council will have new powers and roles.

They range from extra responsibility for off-street parking, through to tourism.

Potentially, though, the most controversial move will be putting politicians in charge of all but the most significant planning decisions.

Councils will be able to accept or reject developments in their own areas.

Currently, if you want to build a new house or erect an extension, you have to apply for permission to the Planning Service, an agency that comes under the umbrella of Stormont’s environment department.

Responsibility for regeneration will also allow councils to boost deteriorating town and village centres and support community groups.