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8th October 2002
Minutes of Meeting of Strabane District Council held in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, Derry Road, Strabane on Tuesday, 8th October, 2002 at 7.30 p.m.
Present – In the Chair:- Councillor E. McMenamin Other Members:- Councillors I. Barr, A. Bell, A. Bresland, D. Breslin, J. Donnell, J. Emery, D. Hussey, T. Kerrigan, T. McBride, C. McGill, C. McHugh, B. McMahon, B. McNamee, J. McNulty, Total = 15 In Attendance:- Clerk & Chief Executive, Business Manager, Administrative Officer.
PRESENTATION – HOMES FIT FOR CHILDREN CAMPAIGN
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor Barr seconded by Councillor McMahon that the above item be taken as number 1 on the Agenda.
The Chairman welcomed Mr. McKeever and said he was looking forward to hearing and seeing his presentation and informed him of the normal procedure for same.
Mr. McKeever thanked the Chairman and Members for receiving him. He said that the Chairman had been supportive of the Group for some time.
Mr. McKeever said that he was the parent of a disabled child and a founder of the Family Information Group who were now campaigning for Homes Fit for Children. “Homes Fit for Children” is trying to help remove the struggle to obtain accessible housing while at the same time acknowledging that families still must strive to access what often are basic human rights. The main grant – the Disabled Facilities Grant – which is supposed to help families adapt and make their homes fit for children and adults with disabilities, sometimes is inaccessible due to the fact that it is means tested.
Mr. McKeever said that people could take the view that to do away with the means test would mean that richer families would also benefit but the view of parents was that if they could afford the adaptations themselves they would pay for them rather than go through all the procedures. DLA for children with disabilities was not means tested nor should the Disabled Facilities Grant. There would be substantial savings in administration if the focus moved to the child e.g. less time assessing income and expenditure and verifying these. Parents certainly have a responsibility towards their children, yet they are already saving public money by providing generally excellent care for their children at home.
Councillor Barr welcomed Mr. McKeever and said he would wish to endorse the campaign and would personally be surprised if every Councillor did not endorse it. He asked how Council could best help and in response Mr. McKeever said that the Council could endorse the campaign by stating that every child should have a safe accessible home and that the means test should be abolished. A letter should be written to the Department of Social Development and Department of Health in support on this.
Mr. McKeever said that Derry City Council had recently endorsed the campaign and he had been invited by Mr. Nigel Dodds to participate in a review group with officials and representatives of NIHE. He said he had emphasised to them that he wanted the means test abolished completely and would continue to campaign on this although the review seems focused on making amendments/improvements to the test.
Councillor Bell said she agreed with everything said by Mr. McKeever and referred to a case in which she had been involved where a person had been denied a down stairs toilet because of age.
Councillor McGill said that she was closely related to 2 young adults who had to use wheelchairs and would gladly support the campaign. She said that this was an issue of human rights.
Councillor McNamee said that she had a young nephew severely disabled and totally supported the campaign.
Councillor McMahon said that he was 100% in support of the campaign and said that anything to do with disability should not be means tested.
Councillor Kerrigan welcomed Mr. McKeever and thanked him for the presentation. He said he fully supported the campaign and any measures to free up the system should be encouraged.
Councillor Emery welcomed Mr. McKeever and thanked him for the presentation. He said he would be very supportive of what he was trying to do. Councillor Emery said that the Council had received a letter looking at disability from the angle of playing facilities for the disabled and said that this needed to be considered as well.
Mr. McKeever said that the housing issue was just one issue and the Group had a lot of other issues to consider. He said that the campaign was presently at the Assembly but he felt that Councils had a role to play.
Councillor Bresland also offered his support for the campaign.
Councillor Donnell welcomed Mr. McKeever and offered his support for the campaign and said he understood the difficulties involved. He asked if there was any difference in the private and public sector housing. Mr. McKeever said that the Housing Executive had a good reputation when dealing with adaptations as had Habinteg and various other Housing Associations. Councillor Donnell wished Mr. McKeever well with the campaign.
The Chairman thanked Mr. McKeever for the presentation and it was agreed that letters of support for the campaign would be sent to Mr. McKeever, and the Department of Social Development.
The Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Council held on 9th September, 2002 were adopted as a true record of the Meeting on the proposal of Councillor McBride seconded by Councillor Bell and signed by the Chairman.
Councillors McHugh, McMahon and McNulty abstained from the decision to adopt the Minutes.
Page 7 - Planning Application J/2002/0560/F – Mr. G. Robinson (Bros.) proposed sand and gravel extraction 250m east of 104 Gortaclare Road, Donemana
Councillor Donnell asked if the Objectors had been notified by Council of the Meeting that had been convened to discuss the above and which had to be abandoned. The BM said that she had checked the position regarding objectors with the Planning Office and had ascertained that Planning Service do not notify objectors of any meetings requested by Council.
Councillor McGill said she was not present when the site meeting had been requested. Councillor McBride said that the Objector would be attending the site meeting to be held the following day.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 10th September, 2002 were adopted as a true record of the Meeting on the proposal of Councillor McBride seconded by Councillor Kerrigan and signed by the Chairman..
Page 5 – Provision of Bus Shelter at Abbey Villas, Ardstraw
In response to Councillor Hussey, the CE said he would ask the CTO to provide an update on the above.
Page 6 – Unwanted Posters
In response to Councillor Hussey, the CE said that the CTO was currently working with the TSLO and Environmental Officer with regard to responding to the people concerned.
The Chairman commented that Council should provide areas for posters and charge for the space.
Councillor Barr said that the Proprietor of one of the establishments involved with the posters, when approached by the local press said that there had been no objections to posters put up by people from Derry and Donegal. Councillor Barr said he objected to all posters from wherever they came including the posters erected by the person concerned.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Economic Development Committee held on 16th September, 2002 were adopted as a true record of the Meeting on the proposal of Councillor Barr seconded by Councillor Bell.
Page 4 – Accord Project
Councillor Barr asked that a letter be sent to Strabane Caring Services congratulating them on the high quality of service and the excellent meal provided for Accord. He said he was very impressed. This was agreed.
Page 5 – Strabane Lifford Development Commission
Councillor McNulty asked if clarification had been obtained regarding Board Membership of the above. The CE said he would check this out within the next few days.
Page 7 – Agenda for Road Liaison Meeting
Councillor Hussey said he wished to express his displeasure at the postponement of the Roads Liaison Meeting and felt that Roads Service should have been able to send the Officer next in line to the Section Engineer to deal with the matter.
It was agreed that the BM would arrange another date for a Roads Liaison Meeting as soon as possible.
Councillor Hussey asked and it was agreed that a letter of good wishes be sent to Mr. Conor Loughrey on his new appointment.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Corporate and Regulatory Services Committee held on 17th September, 2002 were approved as a true record of the Meeting on the proposal of Councillor Emery seconded by Councillor Barr.
Page 7 – Presentation by Mr. J. Beggs
Councillor Barr said he had listened to a debate on radio recently where the view was expressed that the new legislation relating to the sale of fireworks would not ease the availability or annoyance caused. He said that in previous years he was aware of fireworks and bangers from August onwards but this year there seemed to be very few and he felt that the legislation was a success. Councillors McMenamin and Emery concurred by Councillor Barr’s remarks.
In Committee Items
The CE said that from page 9 of the Minutes items had been taken In Committee. This was due to the fact that the Members had not voted to go Out of Committee and there was no alternative but to record the items on green paper.
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Culture, Arts & Leisure Committee held on 23rd September, 2002 were adopted as a true record of the Meeting on the proposal of Councillor McNamee seconded by Councillor Bell subject to the following amendment:-
Page 6 – Paragraph 9
Councillor McGill asked that the second sentence in the above paragraph be amended to read as follows:-
“She noted that recently, when a journalist was asked to identify problems the Millennium Forum had, the first thing he mentioned was parking problems.”
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Environment Committee held on 24th September, 2002 were adopted as a true record of the Meeting on the proposal of Councillor Barr seconded by Councillor Bresland.
Page 2 – Planning Application J/2002/0339/0
Councillor Donnell referred to the above and said he had been contacted by the Applicant who had complained that he had not been notified of the site meeting and that no Councillors had turned up for it. He said he was looking for another site meeting to be arranged.
The CE said that a letter, videos and submission had been delivered to the office prior to the Meeting. He read the letter which requested a site meeting between Councillors, the EDO and CE at a mutually convenient time so that everyone can familiarise themselves with the proposals.
Councillor Barr said that he had spoken with Mr. Forbes and apologised for not having attended the meeting. He said he had been advised by his Agent that the difficulties with the planning were not insurmountable and he requested that a further site meeting be arranged. He felt that the difficulties regarding planning would need to be resolved before coming before Economic Development.
Councillor Bresland said that Mr. Forbes had also contacted him and he had pointed out to him that his Agent had been notified of the meeting and that he should have in turn notified him.
Councillor McGill said she had also been contacted and wished to support the proposal. She said that Council owed it to him to hear what he had to say.
Councillor McHugh said that as far as he was aware the Agent had been asked to make a written submission addressing the issues raised under PPS4 and other issues.
It was agreed that a letter would be forwarded to the Planners seeking a further meeting.
The CE said that he had received a telephone call from the Divisional Planning Manager expressing concern at the number of Office Meetings requested. He said that due to the demands from all 5 Councils he was finding it difficult . He said that he would put his concerns in writing but Office Meetings should only be held if there were unusual circumstances.
Councillor McBride said that some of the sites turned down was unbelievable and it was as a result of some of the decisions made by his Officers that Office Meetings had to be held. It was stated that the Office Meetings requested covered a 2 month period.
Councillor McGill said that meeting with Mr. Hughes was an important part of the process for Applicants and Council would need to think carefully before rescinding it.
Page 3 – Deferred Applications – J/2001/0586/F – BT Cellnet
Councillor McNamee referred to the above and said that a further application was being submitted in relation to the above mast and asked that Council submit a letter of objection to it.
Councillor Barr said that Council may be creating a precedent by lodging an objection as a corporate body in view of the fact the Environmental Health had advised they had no concerns regarding the mast.
The CE said that letters could be sent expressing the Council’s concerns regarding the location and pointing out the decisions of Council in relation to this mast over the last few months.
Councillor McHugh said that if a new application was submitted then Council, as neighbouring land owners, should have received a Neighbour Notification . It was agreed that the BM would check with Planners the position regarding Neighbour Notification.
Page 11 – Review of Trade Waste Collection Systems
Councillor Hussey referred to the above and to the free stickers. He said that the CTO look at resolving this matter where a number of businesses were combined in one rating bill for address purposes. He said that he has requested the VLA to come out and identify these in some cases but this takes a long time and he felt that perhaps the CTO could resolve this much quicker.
The CE said he would ask the CTO to look at the matter.
Page 13 – Bus Shelter at Ballymagorry
Councillor Donnell asked that the bus shelter at Artigarvan be painted. The CE said he would refer this to the CTO.
Page 16 – Inquiry into the Foot & Mouth Outbreak
The CE asked that Councillors interested in attending the above Inquiry to be held on 25th October and a Briefing Session to be held on 16th October should give their names to the Business Manager as soon as possible.
Page 16 – GAA Achievements
In response to Councillor McHugh the BM said that the sending of letters to Armagh and Derry GAA Teams was being dealt with.
STRABANE CREDIT UNION
The CE placed before Members a letter from Strabane Credit Union Ltd. seeking the Council’s permission to use the sculptures at Lifford Road on their stationery for the foreseeable future.
Following a discussion it was agreed on the proposal of Councillor Barr seconded by Councillor McGill that permission be granted to Strabane Credit Union Ltd. to use the sculptures on their stationery subject to them acknowledging Mr. Harron and the Council on the stationery.
It was further agreed that CE explore the possibility of registering the sculptures for Copyright and report back to Council.
ELECTORAL IDENTIFY CARD
Members considered a letter from The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland attaching a sample of the proposed Electoral Identify Card and seeking views from Council on same on or before 15th October.
It was agreed that any Councillor or Party wishing to comment on the card could do so through the Business Manager or direct to the Electoral Office.
Members acknowledged receipt of the following Consultation documents:-
Department of Finance and Personnel: Draft Budget for 2003-2004 Department of Regional Development: A new start for Public Transport in Northern Ireland
A Deed of Release in respect of SDA Loan granted to Mr. Patrick C. McDaid in respect of premises at 66 Laurel Drive, Strabane.
Royal Town Planning Institute Seminar – “Renewable Energy”
Members considered details of the above Seminar to be held in Belfast on Thursday, 7th November, 2002 and decided to mark it ‘read’.
Local Government Conference 2002
Members considered details of the above Conference to be held in Armagh City Hotel on 7th and 8th November, 2002. The Chief Executive strongly recommended that one representative from each Party should attend and said he would like approval for 3 Officers including himself to attend.
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor Barr seconded by Councillor Bell to accept the recommendations of the CE that one representative from each Party together with 3 Officers at the discretion of the CE attend the Conference. It was also agreed that the cost of the Conference should be checked out as there was a difference in the conference fee on the correspondence and on the assessment form.
National Association of Councillors – AGM
Members considered details of National Association of Councillors AGM to be held in Canal Court Hotel, Newry on 8th and 9th November, 2002.
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor Bresland seconded by Councillor Hussey that a total of 5 Councillors be authorised to attend the above to include the 3 voting Members on the Association.
Association of Building Engineers Conference
Councillor Kerrigan said he had received details of the above Conference to be held in Bournemouth from 6th to 8th November, 2002. He said he would be attending on behalf of the Western Group and agreed to make details of the Conference available for circulation to other Members for a future meeting.
Northern Ireland Advisory Committee on Telecommunications
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor Emery seconded by Councillor Bresland that any Councillor wishing to attend one of the Seminars in relation to Broadband for Northern Ireland being organised by the above should do so.
The information circulated listed a number of various locations for the Seminar during the month of October.
BURIAL RIGHT GRANTS
Forms of Grant in respect of the following were signed and sealed on behalf of the Council:-
Kathleen Humphrey, 16 Tivenny Road, Ardstraw. - 1 Plot
Noelle Caldwell, 5 Speer Park, Killen, Castlederg. - 1 Plot
Sharon McAllister, 12 Leckpatrick Gardens, Artigarvan, Strabane. - 1 Plot
Dympna Coyle, 40 Greeves Park, Strabane. - 2 Plots
Sally Maxwell, 7 Church View, Strabane. - 1 Plot
Kathleen Peoples, 66 Bridge Street, Strabane. - 2 Plots
Annie Murray, 31 Colman Fold, Melmount Road, Strabane. - 1 Plot
Tracey Harte, 39 Tulacorr Gardens, Strabane. - 1 Plot
Felix McCrossan, 18A Newtown Street, Strabane. - 2 Plots
Gilmore Maxwell, 69 Parkside Gardens, Sion Mills. - 1 Plot
SPECIAL MEETING – WATER SERVICE & ROADS
It was agreed that a Special Meeting should be held on Wednesday, 27th November, 2002 at 7.30 p.m. to deal with the Water Service Capital Works Programme and the Roads Service Autumn Programme.
SPAMOUNT & DISTRICT CROSS COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
The CE referred to a letter from Spamount & District Cross-Community Association seeking financial assistance towards the cost of tarmacing the car park area and driveway down to the front of their changing rooms. The HCAL had advised that the Group could apply to the Voluntary Sports Grant Aid Scheme when a budget is allocated for this, otherwise there was no other fund available.
It was agreed that this matter would be discussed at the Culture Arts & Leisure Meeting.
TRANSFER OF PLANNING RESPONSIBILITY
The CE said that the meeting with Mr. Dermott Nesbitt in relation to the above had been arranged for 23rd October at 1.15 a.m. in Belfast. A pre-meeting would be held with Omagh Council on 17th October at 9.00 a.m. in Omagh District Council. The CE asked Members to nominate 2 Councillors to attend these meetings.
Councillors McGill and McBride indicated that they would be interested in attending on behalf of Council and this was agreed.
CASTLEDERG CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor Hussey seconded by Councillor Emery that any Councillor wishing to attend the meeting in the Mournederg Office on 15th October, 2002 at 6.00 p.m. being organised by Castlederg Chamber of Commerce in relation to the possible installation of CCTV cameras in Castlederg should do so.
Councillor McHugh said he had received the invitation and was disappointed that the meeting had not been called to discuss the ongoing problems in Castlederg. He said he was of the opinion that the way forward was being decided by some people in Castlederg in consultation with the PSNI.
STRABANE ASSOCIATION FOR THE TEMPORARY HOMELESS
The CE informed Members that an invitation had been received from the Management Committee of the Strabane Association for Temporary Homeless inviting two Councillors to a 10th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, 24th October, 2002 at 12.30 p.m
It was agreed that Councillors Bell and Barr together with the Chairman who had received an individual invitation, should represent the Council at the function.
USE OF COUNCIL CHAMBER
Members agreed that the Council Chamber could be used for a training course being organised by the HRO on Thursday, 10th October as no other rooms were available in the Council building.
PROPOSED EXTENSION TO SAND & GRAVEL EXTRACTION AT LOUGHNEASE
The CE said that a response to the above was required by the Planning Service by Wednesday, 9th.
Councillor McBride asked that the Department ensure that the present area be restored before moving onto new ground. This was seconded by Councillor Emery who added that any issues regarding the roads should also be resolved before approval is granted.
DISTRICT POLICING PARTNERSHIPS
The CE referred to the letter from the Policing Board in relation to the above and recommended that this be passed to the Members of the Partnership.
This was agreed to by 8 votes to nil with 4 abstentions.
NORTH TYRONE ALL STARS
Members agreed on the proposal of Councillor Barr seconded by Councillor Breslin that an outstanding account due by the above Club could be paid in accordance with an arrangement agreed with the HCAL providing the HCAL was satisfied with this.
RADIO INTERVIEW RE SKATE PARK
Councillor Barr referred to a radio interview earlier in the afternoon in relation to the above during which Mr. Lawall referred to a meeting with Council and other Agencies in relation to funding. Councillor Barr said that the Council needed to be careful in relation to this matter.
It was agreed on the proposal of Councillor Bell seconded by Councillor Breslin to go “Into Committee”.
LIBRARY ITEMS – COUNCIL MEETING 8 OCTOBER 2002
DRD – Pilot Heath Impact Assessment DRD – Regional Transport Programme 2002-2003 DRD – Consultation Process Report DRD – Equality Impact Assessment DRD – Regional Transportation Strategy for NI 2002-2012 Planning Appeals Commission – Chief Commissioner’s Annual Report 2001-2002 Planning Appeals Commission – procedures for planning appeals Rivers Agency – Corporate Plan 2002/07 + Business Plan 2002/03 Rivers Agency – Annual Report & Accounts 2001/02 Rivers Agency – Charter Standard Statement NI Land Property and Construction Directory 2002-2003 Department of Transport – Future Development of Air Transport in the UK: NI InterTradeIreland – Annual Review of Activities & Annual Accounts 2001 Green Park Healthcare Trust – Open All Hours Annual Report 2001-2002 DETI NI Labour Market Statistics August and September 2002 Royal College of Nursing – health manifesto Civic Forum Lifelong Learning Group-Can do better-September 2002 National Association of Councillors Constitution 2002-03 The Incinerator – Newsletter of the Somme Association BIH Housing Association Annual Report 2001-2002 Department for Social Development – Parent Stories Family Information Group – Time To Act – A Family View of Disability Family Information Group – In the Telling – experiences of parents with children diagnosed with disabling conditions Family Information Group – Finishing Touches North/South Ministerial Council – Annual Report 2001 Northern Ireland Assembly – Draft Firearms (NI) Order 2002 Northern Regional Fisheries Board – Development and Management of Angling in Donegal DRD – Water Service Corporate plan 2002 & Annual Report & Accounts 2001-02 DRD – Business Plan 2002/2003 DRD – Consultation Paper EC Directive 97/11/EC Harbour Works in NI August 2002 Altnagelvin Hospitals Health and Social Services Trust – Annual Report 2001-2002 NI Practice & Education Council for Nursing and Midwifery – draft statutory rules DSD – Consultation paper on licensing of indoor arenas DOE - Consultation paper – Anti-pollution works regulations (NI) 2002 DOE - Consultation paper – Recovery & Recycling targets in NI 2002 DOE Environment & Heritage Service – Corporate and Business Plan 2002/2005 DOE – Stage II Petrol Vapour Recovery Consultation Paper NI Co-ownership Housing Association Ltd – Annual Report & Accounts 2001-2002 North Down Borough Council Corporate Plan 2002-2006 DHSS & Public Safety – Report of the Counselling Review in NI Local Government Training Group The Councillor’s Guide decision-taking & the law Department of Finance & Personnel Review of Rating Policy Housing Executive – Homelessness Strategy NCVO Events & Publications Catalogue Autumn/Winter 2002/03 Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) – Feasibility Study The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages European Information Service issue 233 September 2002 NI Chamber of Commerce & Industry – Business Connections issue 5 August/September 2002 NI Ambulance Service Annual Report 2001-02 Foyle Health & Social Services Trust Annual Report 2001/02 Sai Pak Chinese Community Project – Survey of meeting needs of Chinese Community in the North-west Oaklee Housing Association – Annual Review 2002 Japan Local Government Centre – Annual Review 2002 DETI – Public Service Review – Summer 2002 Social Security Agency Annual Report 2001/2002 Foyle Health & Social Services Trust – Review of Day Care for Young Children Enterprise Ulster Annual Report 2001/02 Rate Collection Agency Annual Report & Financial Statements 2001/02 Valuation & Lands Agency Annual Report & Accounts 2001/02 Western Area Children & Young People’s Committee – Children’s Services Plan Maydown Site Environmental Report 2001 Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities Annual Report 2000-01 Ulster Sports Trust Annual Report & Accounts 2000/01
The Meeting ended at 9.15 p.m.
DATED THIS 8TH DAY OF OCTOBER, 2002.
SIGNED __________________________ CLERK & CHIEF EXECUTIVE
DATED THIS 12TH DAY OF NOVEMBR, 2002.
SIGNED ____________________________ CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL.