Mid Ulster Council reveals its first local development plan

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Since the devolution of planning powers from Stormont in April 2015, Mid Ulster District Council has been in control of local development.

And with that power the time has come for local people to have their say on the local development plan that will shape the area for years to come.

Launched on Monday at the Burnavon, the preferred options paper covered everything from cultural diversity and environmental strategy to the felxibility of planning in rural areas and on farm land.

The proposed blueprint for Mid Ulster Council’s first local development plan is to inform planning policy in the area up until 2030.

But before it is approved, it has been opened up to public consultation.

And the council says it really wants to hear from those living and working in the district.

Speaking at the launch, Planning Committee chair, Cllr Sean Clarke ran through a series of slides on the plan.

Included were proposals on business development, housing growth, zoning and planning flexibility. But with the plans a number of questions were also raised on environmental strategy in an area that encompasses protected areas - such as Lough Neagh - and an area of outstanding natural beauty in the Sperrins.

Through the consultation, council is also after residents’ opinions on mineral extraction, quarrying, wind turbines and industry in the countryside.

“We have reached the first milestone on the road to the creation of a truly Local Development Plan for Mid Ulster,” said council chair, Cllr Trevor Wilson.

“This is the time to for local people to feed back their views to allow us to ensure the final development plan for Mid Ulster until 2030 is truly ‘local’.

Councillor Sean Clarke, Planning Committee chair, added: “We want to hear from the communities in each town and village about how the places where they live and work should develop. What should be the direction of growth, what land should be developed and what land should be protected from development?”

The Preferred Options Paper is on-line at www.midulstercouncil.org/developmentplan or you can see it at Cookstown, Dungannon or Magherafelt council offices.

Comments should be made in writing before January 27, 2017 to Dr Chris Boomer, Mid Ulster Council, 50 Ballyronan Road, Magherafelt, BT45 6EN.