Council Service Update – Friday, 07 May 2021
07 May 2021
Please note that the most up to date guidelines announced by the NI Executive in relation to the relaxing of restrictions and the current regulations have been updated on the NI Direct website and can be accessed at - https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guide-restrictions
All Council services remain under regular review and every effort is being made to keep as many services operational as possible within the restrictions in place by the NI Executive.
All information is updated regularly on our website at - www.derrystrabane.com/coronavirus and shared on our Facebook and Twitter social media platforms in an effort to keep everyone informed.
Please note the current status of our services and any recent changes are highlighted in blue text.
Council civic offices and public buildings – Council's Civic Offices in Strand Road, Derry and Derry Road, Strabane are open to the public with restrictions. Screens have been erected and the public will be asked to sanitise on entering and leaving the buildings and adhere to an in-house management system and strict social distancing guidance. The public are being encouraged to use Council's online systems where possible or to contact Council by phone at 📞028 71 253253 or by email at [email protected].
The Harbour House remains open for staff and elected members only.
The Guildhall is currently closed to the public in line with the current restrictions announced by the NI Executive.
The Tower Museum is currently closed to the public in line with the current restrictions announced by the NI Executive.
The Alley Theatre in Strabane is currently closed to the public in line with the current restrictions announced by the NI Executive.
Please note that Council is currently working towards the indicative dates provided by the NI Executive of 24 May for the reopening of the above Council owned indoor visitor attractions.
Council meetings –All Council meetings are currently being held virtually in line with Government advice and can be viewed online via the Council's YouTube channel. The full list of meetings can be found at http://meetings.derrycityandstrabanedistrict.com/mgCalendarMonthView.aspx?XXR=0&M=9&DD=2020&ACT=Go
Mayor's Office – The Mayor Cllr Brian Tierney is available for online meetings and events and is keen to engage with the public. He can be contacted via his office at [email protected] – For more info on the Mayor visit - https://www.derrystrabane.com/mayor/contact.
Derry City and Strabane District Council Leisure Centres have reopened to the public for individual training and lane swimming from Friday April 30th with a number of required safety measures in place for the protection of staff and the public.
Facilities reopening on April 30th include Foyle Arena, Templemore Sports Complex, Riversdale Leisure Centre, Melvin Sports Complex and Derg Valley Leisure Centre (excluding the Main Hall which remains closed for maintenance.
One to one training and coaching that is socially distanced has resumed from April 30th with a number of measures in place to ensure public safety, and all sessions must be booked in advance. Booking is now open at www.derrystrabaneleisure.com
Leisure reception teams are available for all queries and bookings from 9am -5pm Monday-Thursday with the normal resumption of hours from Friday 30th April. Queries can also be emailed through to [email protected]
Visitors to our facilities are asked to arrive gym or swim ready at centres – swimmers wearing costumes beneath their clothes – as changing will take place poolside with designated areas on the pool deck to store clothing. Facilities will operate a 'quick change zone' for swimmers at the end of sessions.
Gym users should note that there will be no access to showers or changing facilities following activities. There will also be emergency toilet access only.
A full programme of outdoor and online exercise is running in parallel with the reopening of leisure centres, for those who prefer to train in an outside space or at home. Classes are open to both members and on a 'pay as you go' basis.
The new programme includes a supervised Cycling Programme, After School Multi-Skills Club for kids aged 7-11yrs old, Female Fit sessions, and a Walk, Jog, Run scheme to get people of all ages and abilities back into fitness. Classes can be booked at www.derrystrabaneleisure.com
Council is also working with its partners, including Disability Sport NI, to finalise the details of the safe return of the inclusive Disability programme. The Macmillan Move More programme and GP Referral Programmes, which both support people affected by Cancer and various lifelong conditions by improving their fitness and mobility, have continued remotely throughout lockdown but it's hoped some outdoor activities will resume for these groups and individuals in the coming weeks.
There will be a slight delay in the return to swimming at Templemore Sports Complex, which has been pushed back to the end of May to accommodate essential works to the heating system.
Centre cafes will remain closed until legislation permits their reopening, though vending machines will be operational.
Group swimming is not possible at the moment under the current restrictions but all services remain under review and will reopen as soon as the restrictions safely allow.
Council is currently working towards the indicative dates provided by the NI Executive of 24 May for a return of indoor group exercise and training. More information will be available in the coming weeks.
The Climbing Wall
The Climbing Wall at Foyle Arena will remain closed but it will reopen for individual training on Monday May 10th. Council has been working closely with the relevant governing bodies to ensure measures are in place for the safe phased return to climbing and climbers are advised that sessions must now be pre-booked in keeping with the current restrictions. Booking is open from earlier this week, Tuesday May 4th.
Floor walkers will be in place for the reopening of the Climbing Wall and competent climbers that wish to register can be assessed by the floor walker and can complete the forms on-site.
Each session will last 90 minutes and times of sessions will remain under review due to the on-going vaccination programme in the centre. Additional weekly sessions should be released in due course.
All climbers are asked to arrive ready to exercise and changing and shower facilities remain closed in line with restrictions. Users will be asked to follow a one-way system and to follow the instructions of staff while on site. Booking opens online from May 4th at www.derrystrabaneleisure.com
In line with new guidance issued by the Northern Ireland Executive relating to exercising at outdoor sports facilities, the following Derry City and Strabane District Council owned grass surface facilities will be available for bookings:
- The Foyle Arena
- Melvin Sports Complex
- Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium
- Templemore Sports Complex
- Caw 3G
- Brooke Park Leisure and Sports Centre
- Bishops Field
- All Council owned grass pitches across the Council area.
Under these regulations up to 15 people - including coaches - are permitted to take part in structured outdoor sports training, through clubs or individuals affiliated to recognised sports governing bodies or representative organisations for sport and physical activity.
The new guidelines specify that initially adults are permitted to train as part of a group of 15 people including coaches only. Subject to pitch size and public health guidance, for those within the 13 to 18 years they can train as two groups of 15, while those aged 12 years and under can train as three groups of 15. Training is advised for essential participants only and guidelines around no car sharing, no spectators and gatherings remain in place.
Organisations must adhere to the strict phase two cautious first steps as part of the Government's COVID recovery plan that includes updated risk assessments, adherence to the Hands-Face-Space messaging, record keeping for contact tracing purposes and adjusting training programmes to reduce close contacts where possible as well as strict guidelines in relation to spectators.
Squad training is permitted as well as competitive outdoor sports. No spectators are permitted and numbers (including officials, participants, management and support personnel) should be restricted to the minimum number required for the delivery of the event and should not exceed 100.
Any queries relating to Greyhound training should be directed to the Brandywell Greyhound company.
Tennis court facilities are open for club bookings only and clubs are advised to book courts via the normal channels. Recreational tennis will also be available from the week beginning May 10th.
Athletic facilities are also open for club bookings only. Bookings are to be made via the clubs directly.
Please note that as per the Government guidelines the general public cannot book anything for recreational use as the restrictions don't permit this.
A series of online member engagement programmes continue to be rolled including online fitness sessions, workshops and health and wellbeing tips that are being promoted on the leisure social media pages and on the website at www.derrystrabane.com/leisure
To acknowledge the ongoing support of current paying members during the disruptions to service, all direct debit payments are now frozen until centres reopen. Paid in full memberships will have closure periods added to the end of their membership period.
Members who wish to reactivate a freeze on their membership can do so by contacting [email protected].
Council officers are continuing to monitor the guidance and legislation, with the aim of re-establishing services as soon as it's legally and safely possible. Any membership queries should be sent to [email protected].
Virtual Home Workouts
Remember you can still workout at home with our online classes which include Yoga, Zumba, Pilates, Tabata plus many more, no equipment needed. Go at your own pace and enjoy
Sports Development Programme - Council's popular Everybody Active Programme is delivering a range of activities to suit all ages and abilities while adhering to all current Government guidelines.
The Sports Development team are currently working with partners to tailor the Macmillan Move More and PARS programmes within the restrictions.
For further information, please contact [email protected]
Community Centres – Community Centre(s) remain closed apart for those Centre(s) that are providing an essential service in line with government guidelines.
Play Parks - Council owned play parks remain open to the public to use for exercise and recreation purposes. The public are advised that Council undertakes regular maintenance checks and risk assessments to ensure that the play equipment is safe to use and that all sites have been cleaned in preparation for use. There are restrictions in place for users of the play parks with everyone being reminded to sanitise their hands before and after using the facilities and to abide by social distancing rules at all times. The public are also advised that they will not be permitted to consume food or drink in our play parks and if you or anyone in your bubble is feeling unwell or showing any symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay away from parks.
Public Parks – All Council public parks and open spaces remain open to the public and will remain open during the current period restrictions to facilitate exercise only. The Council is continuing to advise the public to adhere to the Public Health Authority guidelines in relation to social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to act responsibly when out and about using our public parks and open spaces.
All Derry City and Strabane District Council owned cemeteries are open and operational from 8am to 7pm.
Visitors to the main cemetery area are asked to enter and exit the cemetery through the Creggan gate only. Any visitors to the lower new area of the cemetery should enter and exit via the Lone Moor Road gate. We apologise for any inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation and patience while the work is being carried out.
The public are reminded that while the cemeteries are open, the public must continue to adhere to the guidelines regarding social distancing and co-operate fully with Council staff at all times. It is important to note that when funerals are taking place, some areas within the cemeteries will be cordoned off to ensure health and safety measures are in place and to allow mourners the space and privacy to grieve and pay their respects in a safe and controlled environment. The public are also advised that as a result of the current pandemic these arrangements are subject to change and there will be instances where the facilities may have to close at short notice to comply with COVID 19 regulations. The cemetery offices will remain closed with no public access however all enquiries or queries regarding geneaology or headstone permits can be made by telephone at 028 71 362615 or email. More info is available at www.derrystrabane.com/cemeteries
Business support - The Council Business team are available to offer advice and assistance to local businesses on the level of Government business support available and updated regularly on the Business Support social media platforms. The Business team are working closely with Government department, statutory agencies and partners as well as other teams across Council to plan and provide support for the scheduled reopening of retail opening in the coming weeks. For regular updates you can follow on Facebook @Business Support Derry Strabane and Twitter @dcsdbusiness
To make an appointment to speak with one of our Business Advisers, email: [email protected] - 07872423755 / [email protected] /07702609977
Car parks – Car parks are operating as normal - www.derrystrabane.com/carparks
Births, still-births, deaths and marriage and civil partnership registration –The Council's Registration of Births, Still-births, Deaths, Marriages and Civil Partnership service in both Derry and Strabane is continuing to operate and following new Government legislation is continuing to provide remote death registration without the attendance of an informant at the Registrar's Office. The Registrar's Office in Derry and Strabane are both open and are operational by appointment only to register births and for couples to collect their Marriage Schedules.
To contact the registration department please email – For Birth Registration, please email [email protected] , for Death Registration please email – [email protected], or for Marriage or Civil Partnership [email protected] and for general enquiries please email [email protected]. For urgent enquiries please telephone 02871 253253 and ask for the Registry Office. To view all the details relating to the changes to services and to access the relevant online forms please visit www.derrystrabane.com/district-registration
Environmental Health Services – Environmental Health staff are continuing to engage proactively with local businesses to provide advice and support and to ensure compliance and to assist with the planned reopening of retail as announced by the NI Executive this week. Officers are continuing to carry out programmed Food Safety and Health and Safety inspections of businesses on a limited basis following the completion of Covid 19 Risk Assessments and Safe Systems of Work procedures. All inspections will be considered on an individual basis and carried out when it is safe to do so. For more info visit - at https://www.derrystrabane.com/Subsites/Health-Community-Wellbeing
Health and Safety at Work
Members of the public and employees seeking advice and information regarding COVID-19 and health and safety at work requirements are encouraged to contact the Council's Health and Safety and Consumer Protection Scheme to find out how Council can assist them in ensuring workplaces are safe. For more information visit –www.derrystrabane.com/subsites/Environmental-Health/Health-Safety-and-Consumer-Protection-Team/Health-Safety-at-Work
All sectors need to consider the relevant guidance and risk assess their work activities to ensure risks associated with the potential spread of coronavirus are suitably and sufficiently addressed and all statutory health and safety obligations are met. The HSENI have developed an example COVID-19 risk assessment that shows you the kind of approach that a small business needs to take when carrying out a risk assessment for COVID-19 in the workplace – https://hseni.gov.uk/news/example-risk-assessment-covid-19-workplaces
Our Health and Safety and Consumer Protection Team would like to remind affected businesses of guidance available. Full details: https://www.economy-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/economy/keeping-workers-clients-safe-during-covid.pdf
For further information and assistance you can email the Health and Safety and Consumer Protection team at [email protected]
A variety of useful information, advice and guidance is also available on the Council website at – https://derrystrabane.com/Subsites/Health-Community-Wellbeing/Covid-19.
Covid Safe Scheme for Businesses
The Council's Business and Environmental Health teams have introduced a "COVID Reassurance Mark" which has been designed to support local, economic recovery and revitalisation whilst respecting the public health controls needed to maintain public health and minimise community transmission of Coronavirus. This initiative is geared towards boosting customer confidence to return to our town centres and villages in the knowledge that businesses are taking positive steps to keep their customers and staff safe via a risk assessed process. For more information visit www.derrystrabane.com/covidreassurance
The Council's Environmental Health team are proactively visiting premises in the hospitality and retail sector to check compliance with The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations. These visits will also be carried out during evenings and weekends. All complaints and service requests received from members of the public will be investigated and enforcement action taken where appropriate.
Licensing and Pavement Café Licensing
Applications for pavement café licences are currently being accepted. Use of outdoor space may assist businesses, such as bars, cafes and restaurants to reopen safely, while maintaining social distancing. The normal fees have been waived to support businesses at this time. Licences were first initiated for a 6 month period but have now been extended. Guidance on making an application for a pavement café licence is available at:
Dog Control Services – Animal Welfare Services
The Council Dog Shelter at Pennyburn Industrial Estate, Derry opening times remain as normal: Mon – Fri: 10.00am – 11.00am & 3.30pm – 4.30pm, Saturday: 11.00am-12.00pm.
To prevent an unnecessary journey please contact the Dog Wardens to determine if there are any dogs in the dog shelter. Dog Wardens will not be at the dog shelter during the listed opening times if there are no dogs present as they will be carrying out other enforcement and education duties.
Please note that Council no longer accepts unwanted dogs. If you wish to rehome your dog we recommend that you contact one of our two local animal rehoming charities: Pet FBI (Tel: 07512 280760) or Rainbow Rehoming Centre for Rescue Cats and Dogs (Tel: 028 71 812882).
Members of the public looking to visit the shelter must contact the dog wardens in advance by calling 02871253253 or emailing [email protected]
♻️Bin Collection Services♻️ -Our refuse collection service continues to remain fully operational and the public are encouraged to continue to use their scheduled bin system using all of the bins provided.
Council reviews the areas impacted by any delays and schedules in these areas for collections as soon as it is safe to do so.
Over the coming weeks, 33,000 residents in the Derry area with large garden waste bins be notified that their food caddy collection service is to stop and they should recycle all food and garden waste in their brown wheelie bin. This will be a phased process with collections not completely ceasing in these areas until w/c 31st May. Food waste must continue to be bagged in compostable liners and should go out on the normal garden waste collection day.
Areas without garden waste bins should continue to recycle food waste using their caddies.
We are appealing for the public to be patient and work with our staff as they continue to provide essential services in a challenging environment.
· Please leave your bins out for collection at 7am to allow crews to get around all households
· Please do not leave out black bags - Council cannot collect additional black bags left beside bins, please use the blue, black and brown bins provided appropriately, making sure to separate waste as usual according to recycling guidelines and dispose of waste responsibly.
· Please do not put additional pressure on Council waste services resources and staff during this emergency period.
To assist us limit the spread of the virus, we would encourage the public to;
• Clean the lids and handles of bins before and after collection.
• Dispose of tissues and disposable cleaning wipes separately placing them in TWO plastic bags, tying and storing inside for 3 days before putting in the external black bin.
• Place all food waste in compostable bags and ensure that they are tied before putting in your BROWN BIN.
• Bring bins out either the night before their scheduled collection day or before 7am on collection day.
• Park considerately so lorries can access streets to service bins.
If you have any specific queries relating to waste please contact our Service line at 028 71 374107.
♻️ Household Recycling centres ♻️
The following Household Recycling Centres are open to the public and will remain open during the current period of restrictions – they are Eglinton, Pennyburn, Strathfoyle, Claudy, Strahans Road in Strabane, Newtownstewart, Donemana, Claudy, Plumbridge and Park.
· Eglinton Recycling Centre is open to the public from 12 to 8pm Monday to Friday. Bookings must be made in advance to access the facility from 12 to 6 with access permitted without a booking from 6pm to 8pm. The facility is also open on a Saturday from 8 am to 5pm using the booking system.
Booking is also required at Glendermott Road Recycling Centre and slots are available from 9.30am-12noon, 1pm – 4.30pm Monday to Friday; Saturday: 8am – 6pm, Sunday: 1- 5pm. No one will gain admission without an appointment during the daytime hours. Slots can be booked by calling 02871376590, with lines open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. From Monday 10 May the facility can be accessed without bookings from 6-8pm, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings only.Access cannot be accommodated on Thursday evenings due to Glenkeen Furnishings being open late.
Small vans and cars, including those with trailers, are currently permitted access to all Council recycling centres except Glendermott Road and Eglinton.
Large vans are permitted access to Pennyburn, Strathfoyle and Claudy recycling centres between 8am and 9am from Monday to Saturday, with van access to Strahan's Road recycling centre between 10am and 11am from Monday to Saturday. Exceptions apply for wheelchair accessible vehicles.
For all information on Council recycling facilities go to https://www.derrystrabane.com/recyclingcentres
Please note the guidance from Govt regarding unnecessary travel and where possible use the bins provided and the Council's free bulky waste collection service to deal with excess waste. This will help alleviate congestion and waiting times at our centres. If you are travelling to recycling centres please try to do so at quieter times later in the day, allow extra time for your journey, follow the signage and guidelines and co-operate with our staff.
Recycling Centre Closures - Killen Recycling Centre remains temporarily closed, there is an alternative waste disposal site available at the Spamount site, every Tuesday and Thursday from 9am-4pm. Any queries regarding the Killen site, please contact Council on 02871 374107.
Recycling Centres opening hours at a glance: Please note they are now operating at their summer opening times.
. Eglinton – 12 -6pm Monday to Friday. Advance booking required during daytime hours. From Monday May 10, the facility can be accessed without bookings from 6-8pm Monday to Friday only. The facility will also be open Saturdays from 8-5pm for bookings only. The facility is closed on Sunday.
· Pennyburn – 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm Saturday and 1pm to 5pm Sunday.
· Glendermott Rd Recycling Centre - 9.30am-12noon, 1pm – 4.30pm Monday to Friday; Saturday: 8am – 6pm, Sunday: 1- 5pm. Advance booking required during day time hours. From Monday 10 May the facility can be accessed without bookings from 6-8pm, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings only.
· Strathfoyle - 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm Saturday and 1-5pm Sunday.
· Newtownstewart - 10am to 6.45pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 4.45pm Saturday, closed Sunday.
· Donemana - 10am to 6.45pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 4.45pm Saturday and closed Sunday.
· Claudy – 8am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, closed Sunday.
· Strahans Road Strabane – 10am to 6.45pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 4.45pm Saturday, closed Sunday.
· Park Recycling Centre – 12noon to 8pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm Saturday and closed Sunday.
· Plumbridge Recycling Centre – 10am to 6.45pm from Monday to Friday, 10am to 4.45pm Saturday, closed on Sunday.
Vans and trailers
Van drivers who use the Recycling Centres within the Derry City and Strabane District Council area are being advised of the following arrangements.
Large vans with trailers will only be permitted to Strathfoyle and Strahans Road sites during the following revised times - Strathfoyle, between 8 and 9am Monday to Saturday, and at Strahans Road between 10 and 11am Monday to Saturday.
Entry to vans is permitted at Claudy Recycling Centre from 8 am -9am ONLY.
No large vans with trailers will be accepted at Pennyburn however, large vans will only be permitted access between 8 and 9am, Monday to Saturday.
These new arrangements are in place to assist with traffic management arrangements and in the interests of the health and safety of staff and site users.
Temporary waste disposal service at Castlederg
A temporary waste disposal facility continues to operate at Spamont Playing Fields in Castlederg to assist those in the rural area of Killen, Castlederg and Killeter, to dispose of additional waste during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The service has been extended from Monday May 10 and will now be open five days per week - Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm to dispose of general and green waste only. Cars and small vans are permitted and large vans can access the site between 9 am and 10 am only.
Those wishing to dispose of larger items of waste are encouraged to use Council recycling centres at Newtownstewart and Strahans Road, Strabane, or to avail of Council's free Bulky Waste Collection Service that can be booked online at www.derrystrabane.com/bulkywaste
The public are advised that in keeping with the Government regulations, a queuing system will be in place and pedestrians will not be permitted on this site.
General advice for visiting the sites
Please adhere to the restrictions and controls in place at all of our centres. These measures are to ensure the health and safety of staff and the public using the site and have been taken in consideration of social distancing requirements.
In addition to having in place a one-way system, the number of cars accessing the sites at any one time will continue to be restricted.
Only one person will be permitted to leave their vehicle to dispose of waste with staff unable to provide assistance during this emergency period.
Please avoid bringing bulky waste onto the site during the initial reopening phase and encouraged to continue to use the Bulky Waste Collection Service and to also avoid visiting the recycling centres during peak times.
Anyone intending to dispose of black bags must ensure they are double bagged and have been stored for a 72-hour period before disposal, as per PHA guidelines.
In order to protect staff and the wider public, social distancing is required within all the sites and the public will be required to unload their own waste. Members of the public experiencing symptoms or who are self-isolating must not enter the recycling centres.
Council will have staff on hand to offer guidance only however, it is imperative that the public adhere to their instructions at all times and co-operate fully with them as they continue to provide an important public service during this challenging time. Abusive behaviour will not be tolerated.
Members of the public with bulky waste are advised that they must avail of the Council's free Bulky Waste Collection Service as they will not be permitted access to the sites with bulky waste at this time. Bookings for this service can be made online via the Council website at www.derrystrabane.com/bulkywaste or contact by phone at 028 71 374107.
Flytipping continues to be an issue for Council and our enforcement team are on the ground actively investigating all incidents of fly-tipping. It is an offence to dump indiscriminately and you could face a Fixed Penalty Notice or a fine imposed by the court.
Protecting our environment and keeping our streets, laneways and greenways clean are still a priority and everyone has their role to play.
For more information visit www.derrystrabane.com/flytipping
♻️Bulky Waste service♻️ – Derry City and Strabane District Council's Bulky Waste Collection Service is fully operational. Members of the public wishing to avail of this service are advised however that it is only for those who have bulky items of waste and have no space in their home or garage to store them during this emergency situation.
Those wishing to avail of the service are being encouraged to book online.
All bookings for collection must be made in advance and items must be left out on the kerbside before 7:30am on the day of the confirmed collection. Please note that we are currently accepting mattresses.
Among the items accepted for the Bulky Waste Service are-
✅ Bulky furniture – wardrobes, chests of drawers, bedside lockers, sofas
✅ Carpets, lino
✅ Electrical appliances e.g. TV
✅ White goods e.g. fridges, washing machines and cookers
✅ Large toys, bikes etc
Among the items that are not accepted are:
❎ Bags of general waste
❎ Glass furniture/mirrors
❎ Building material e.g. concrete, wood, tiles
❎ Fencing, sheds
❎ Wooden flooring
❎ Bathroom suites
❎ Kitchen units
❎ Paint Tins
❎ Recyclable materials
The public are advised that waste accrued as a result of work carried out in your home, such as bathroom suites, kitchens or fireplaces will not be lifted as part of this service. Arrangements must be made with your building contractor to remove these items or alternatively, you can organise removal by an authorised waste collection company or hire a skip.
Members of the public wanting to book a Bulky Waste Collection should fill out the online form on the website at – www.derrystrabane.com/bulkywaste
Or alternatively phone on - 02871374107.
♻️Street cleansing ♻️ – Street cleansing services are continuing with our staff out keeping our city and town centres clean and tidy as well as our parks, green spaces and rural communities. There are some changes in place with regard to social distancing measures and health and safety measures as we continue to protect our staff and the public.
Community Services staff are continuing to work with the Department for Communities, local community groups and advice services to ensure that resources being made available in this emergency situation are delivered on the ground.
Community Development Staff are working with Community& Voluntary groups across the Council area to ensure the effective delivery of a further £280,000 funding package provided by Council to support community led responses and to assist the most vulnerable. Council staff are also working with the Local Community Growth Partnerships, Food Banks and Social Supermarkets to deliver an Access to Food programme to support vulnerable families across the Council area. Officers are working with our Advice Services partners, including Advice North West, Dove House and Resource Centre Derry as well as the Local Community Growth Partnerships to extend Advice Services opening hours and develop local referral mechanisms in order to offer help and support at this challenging time.
The Planning Service
Planning Service continues to operate most services as normal with staff continuing to work from home and the provision of a reduced number of back office staff providing a range of functions to keep the service operational. Site visits have also recommenced for open air urban and rural sites and dynamic risk assessments are carried out to undertake more complex sites. Some Planning Committee Member site visits have recommenced following dynamic and approved Health & Safety risk assessments.
Planning staff continue to receive new applications and are progressing existing applications in the normal manner, issuing decisions and using technology to engage with customers where necessary. New applications and revised drawings or any additional information can also be dropped off at the Reception of Strand Road Council Offices. However, the Department is unable to offer external meetings in person but we continue to engage with customers through virtual meetings and phone calls.
Virtual Planning Committee meetings continue to be held as agreed by Elected Members of Derry City & Strabane District Council in response to Government guidelines and in the interests of providing services safely across the Council area. A virtual Special Planning Committee was held on Wednesday 24th March 2021 at 2.00pmand the Planning Committee in April was held virtually on Monday 12th April 2021 at 2.00pm. The next virtual Planning Committee is scheduled for Wednesday 5th May 2021 at 2.00pm and the scheduled list of applications for discussion at Planning Committees are published on the Planning Section of our website one week prior to Committee meetings. All Planning Committee meetings were livestreamed and can be viewed online on the Council’s YouTube Channel . Further information regarding the operation of Virtual Planning Committee Meetings can also be found on our website : ‘Addendum to the Operation of the Planning Committee Protocol . Virtual Committee Meetings’. If you wish to request Speaking Rights at Committee Meetings, you can contact our office directly at: [email protected] or the main office at 📞028 71 253253 and ask to speak to a member of the Planning Service.
The Planning Enforcement Service continues to progress and deal with complaints as far as possible with restrictions on some site visits. However, rural and urban open air sites are now being inspected along with emergency and priority cases being progressed and under regular review.
Local Development Plan consultations for Representations and Counter Representations were submitted up to 22nd January 2021 and are now closed. Seven Counter Reps were received, relating to 12 of the earlier Reps. All Representations and Counter Representations are now available for inspection via the following link: Reps & Counter Reps to the LDP Draft Plan Strategy. They are available for inspection during normal office opening hours, strictly by appointment only due to COVID 19 restrictions, from Tuesday 2nd February 2021, at the Council’s two main offices at 98 Strand Road, Derry, BT48 7NN and 47 Derry Road, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, BT82 8DY. If you do require to inspect the Reps or Counter Reps in hard copy, please write to us or submit an email to the [email protected] or telephone the LDP Team during normal office hours on 028 71 253253. Arrangements will be made for an appointment.
As the Planning Office is currently closed to public access, anyone requesting planning information about application forms, planning fees and current planning applications are encouraged to visit the following link: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/finding-planning-application or https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/regional-property-certificates for Regional Property Certificates. You can also contact the service directly at [email protected] or the main office at 📞028 71 253253 and ask to speak to a member of the Planning Service.
Building control service - The Building Control service will continue to operate with some restrictions. Essential risk assessments and safe systems of work have been developed to enable site inspections of unoccupied buildings to be carried out. Full plan applications, building notices and regularisation applications are being accepted, registered and assessed. Property certificates are being accepted and processed.
Site inspections – All routine external inspections are being undertaken but internal site inspections are limited to unoccupied properties only (i.e. new builds or existing properties that have been vacant for in excess of 72hrs) and were these conditions are met then normal Completion Certificates will be issued. Dangerous structure inspections are also being undertaken as normal. Virtual inspections, using video and/or photographic evidence along with supporting paperwork, will continue for occupied properties and the resultant Completion Certificates will note the inspection methodology utilised accordingly.
The Building Control service is continuing to provide the other aspects of its service to the public (e.g. postal numbering and street naming) and officers are available to provide advice and assistance – contact via email at [email protected] or from at our website at www.derrystrabane.com/Services/Building-Control.
Council Events – As restrictions remain in place around large gatherings, Council has reviewed forthcoming events for the spring summer season. A series of Inside Out animation and digital programmes will continue to be implemented over the spring and summer months, that will accommodate COVID restrictions but take into account the economic needs of the business community and the enjoyment and well-being of the wider public. The Inside Out Visual Arts Programme will be rolled out to create a multi-dimensional and vibrant programme of activity across the Council and include an opportunity for visual artists and cultural organisations to create exhibitions, displays, installations and exhibitions that can be experienced and enjoyed outside, whilst adhering to COVID regulations. An Inside Out Street Animation and Music Programme will see music and animation performances on the streets of Derry and Strabane for a series of afternoons and evenings during the spring and summer months to enhance the experience for those visiting shops, restaurants and bars. For more info visit –https://www.derrystrabane.com/insideout
Workers Rights and Social Justice Week –a week long programme led by Council and delivered by a range of local organisations, took place online from Monday 26th April - Saturday 1st May 2021. The themes for this year's programme was history, education and increased access for communities and speakers, and highlights will include exhibitions, talks and live online events. You can look back on the events that were organised at www.derrystrabane.com/workersrights
City of Derry Jazz Festival – While the City of Derry Jazz Festival cannot proceed in its usual format an extensive programme of digital content was organised that brought jazz music into homes during the Bank Holiday weekend of April 30 to May 02. An array of local artists showcased their music online from the Guildhall with three gigs per day over three stages over the three days of the festival that were watched by almost 60,000 people from all over the world. You can watch back on the concerts and the highlights of the festival via the website at www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com
North West Angling Fair - As a result of the ongoing pandemic the Council has revised its festival and events delivery plans for the spring and summer of 2021 and agreed not to proceed this year with the North West Angling Fair.
Waterside Half Marathon – Strabane Lifford Half Marathon - As a result of the ongoing pandemic the Council has revised its festival and events delivery plans for the spring and summer of 2021 and agreed not to proceed this year with the 2021 Waterside and Strabane Lifford Half Marathons.
Summer Jamm – As a result of the ongoing pandemic the Council has revised its festival and events delivery plans for the spring and summer of 2021 and while the Summer Jamm is not likely to be able to proceed in its usual format, Council is hopeful that it will be in a position to initiate its Inside Out animation programme and bring some level of activity animation and entertainment to Strabane during this time.
Halloween 2021 - Council is current looking tentatively at drafting a programming plan for the 2021 Halloween celebrations in Derry and Strabane. Discussions have commenced with funders and delivery partners with regard to what format it could take and how it can be adapted should large scale events and crowds still not be permitted. Council will continue to monitor the situation and will bring an updated report before elected members for consideration in the near future.
Clipper and FMF - Council is currently involved in ongoing discussions with Clipper Ventures regarding any future visit of the current or future Races and an updated report will come before elected members of the Business and Culture Committee for consideration next week.
Easy Read version – For those living with pan disability issues, the Council has put together an Easy to Read version of its latest COVID 19 information. This information is updated on a regular basis and is available via the COVID information section of our website.
City of Derry Airport - A significant number of changes have been made by the airlines to some flight schedules operating at the Airport. The public are urged to visit the airport website for live flight information and regular updates. For more information visit –www.cityofderryairport.com
Visit Derry – The Centre remains closed in line with the current restrictions and regulations announced by the NI Executive and is currently working towards the indicative dates provided by the NI Executive of 24 May for the reopening of indoor visitor attractions.