Council Service Update for May 2023
09 May 2023
Please note that all the latest information on COVID 19 is available on the NI Direct website and updated regularly in accordance with information provided by the NI Executive –https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19
New Waste and Recycling App
Council has a Derry Strabane Recycling App. It allows the public to synchronize the bin collections in their area to their calendar so they never miss bin day again! It is also useful to find out up-to-date info on all the local Recycling Centres, top tips on how to recycle better and how to reduce waste at home. It is free to download now on Apple and Android.
Council civic offices and public buildings – Council's Civic Offices in Strand Road, Derry and Derry Road, Strabane are open to the public. The public are being encouraged to use Council's online systems where possible and are advised that they can contact Council by phone at 028 71 253253 or by email at email@example.com
The Harbour House is open for staff and elected members only.
The Guildhall is open to the public as follows –
Monday – Friday 09.00 – 20.00 (last admission 19.00) Saturday – Sunday 09.00 – 18.00 (last admission 17.00) Free Entry Guided tours can be booked in advance - £2.00 per person Credit / Debit cards accepted in both buildings.
The Tower Museum is open to the public – its opening hours are as follows:
Monday – Sunday 9.00 – 17.30 (last admission 16.00)
Admission - £4.00 adult / £2.40 concession / £2.00 child / £10.00 family (2 adults and 3 children)
Museum is self-guide but guided tours can be booked in advance – £2.00 per person
The Alley Theatre and Visitor Information Centre in Strabane is open to the public from Monday to Friday from 10 am to 4.30pm.
Council meetings –A full list of meetings can be found at http://meetings.derrycityandstrabanedistrict.com/mgCalendarMonthView.aspx?XXR=0&M=9&DD=2020&ACT=Go
Please note that as a result of the Local Government Elections on 18 May Council meetings are currently in recess and the Council is currently observing the pre-election period of heightened political sensitivity – for more info visit - nilga-pre-election-sensitivity-guidance-for-may-2023-election.pdf
Mayor's Office – Following the AGM in June, the Council elected a Mayor and Deputy Mayor. The Mayor Councillor Sandra Duffy is the current Mayor and she is available for pre-booked meetings and events and is keen to engage with the public. She can be contacted via her office at firstname.lastname@example.org – For more info on the Mayor visit www.derrystrabane.com/mayor/contact.
A new mayor will be appointed at the AGM in June.
Derry City and Strabane District Council's recycling centres have reverted summer opening hours. The new opening times for the Recycling centres are as follows -
Eglinton Recycling Centre No access for trailers at this site Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm and 5:30pm – 8pm Saturday 8am – 5pm Sunday – Closed 15 Killylane Road, Eglinton, BT47 3DW Tel: 02871812723, LN 08/35
Glendermott Road Recycling Centre No access for trailers at this site Monday – Friday 9am – 4:30pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday 6 – 8pm Saturday – 8am – 6pm Sunday – 1- 5pm 37 Glendermott Road, BT47 6BG. LN 09/54
Pennyburn Recycling Centre Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm Saturday 8am – 6pm Sunday 1pm – 5pm The main gates close at 7:50 pm Monday to Friday, 5:50 pm on Saturday and 4:50pm on Sunday to allow for attendants to lock up 7 Pennyburn Ind Estate, BT48 0LU. Tel: 02871376600. LN 16/23
Strahans Road Recycling Centre Monday – Friday 9.45am – 6:45pm Saturday 10am – 4:45pm Sunday – Closed Strahans Rd, Strabane BT82 9SG. LN 14/28
Strathfoyle Recycling Centre Monday to Friday – 8am – 8pm Saturday – 8am – 6pm Sunday – 1-5pm Temple Road, BT47 6TW Tel: 02871863303. LN 08/21
Claudy Recycling Centre Monday to Saturday – 8am – 5pm Access for vans 8am -9am with no booking required Sunday – Closed Learmount Road, BT47 4AQ. Tel: 02871338054. LN 12/27
Donemana Recycling Centre Monday to Friday 9.45am – 6:45pm Saturday 9.45am – 4:45pm Sunday – Closed
226 Berryhill Rd, Donemana, Strabane BT82 0NB. LN 08/117
Newtownstewart Recycling Centre Monday to Friday – 9.45am – 6:45pm Saturday – 9.45am – 4:45pm Sunday – Closed Douglas Rd, Newtownstewart, Omagh BT78 4NE. LN 09/44
Spamount Playing Fields Monday to Friday – 10am – 4.45pm Closed Saturday and Sunday Spamount Playing Fields, Castlederg
Park Recycling Centre Monday to Friday – 12 – 8pm Saturday – 9am – 5pm Sunday – Closed Learmount Road, Derry, BT47 4AL
Plumbridge Recycling Centre Monday to Friday – 9.45am – 4:45pm Saturday – 9.45am – 4:45pm Sunday – Closed
Bulky Waste Service
Council's free bulky waste service can be booked online via the Council website at www.derrystrabane.com/bulkywaste or by phone at 028 71 374107. 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.
Street Cleansing Services
Street Cleansing services are operating as normal.
Waste Enforcement Services
Please note that waste enforcement services are fully operational.
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
Cemetery opening hours
Council cemeteries have reverted to summer opening hours from 01 April. All Council cemeteries are open from 8am to 8pm daily.
This will remain until 31st October after which time opening hours will revert to winter opening times 8am-4:30pm.
General leisure information
Leisure centres are now operating at full capacity with all areas opened for public use including:
· Swimming sessions, health suite and fitness classes remain bookable through our Leisure app and centre reception desks to secure places – please note that booking is no longer essential and walk ins are accepted subject to availability
· Gym sessions do not need to be booked in advance
· Sports halls are open for casual court activities and close contact sports
· Birthday parties are bookable - please contact the relevant centre for further information
Please download our leisure app to find all the latest information on all our centres and to book
We would like to remind our users that while restrictions have been relaxed we would encourage everyone to be mindful of good hand hygiene, and to use the sanitization stations provided. Please be mindful of others around you and give people plenty of space while training.
New online leisure booking system
A new online system that will make it quicker and more convenient to book swimming sessions has been introduced at Council leisure centres.
The new booking system is now fully active and can be used to book both public sessions and lane swimming. Those who book can be fast tracked in line to avoid queuing at leisure centres. Regular users are advised to download the Council leisure app for convenient access to information and booking.
You can download the app at Google Play or the App Store. For more information go to http://derrystrabaneleisure.com/
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 are 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 to businesses. 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 contact 028 71 253253 and ask for the Business team.
Car parks - Council car parks are open and fully operational – for more info on car parks visit - www.derrystrabane.com/carparks
Environmental Health Services
Environmental Health staff are continuing to engage proactively with local businesses to provide advice and support to businesses and the public across the Council area. Officers are continuing to carry out programmed Food Safety and Health and Safety inspections of businesses. 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 Team 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 businesses that a range of Health and Safety guidance is available from : https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-working-safely-different-business-settings https://www.hseni.gov.uk/articles/latest-information-and-advice-hse-gb-workplaces-about-covid-19 For further information and assistance you can email the Health and Safety and Consumer Protection team at email@example.com 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. Entertainment Licences Since restrictions on indoor entertainment have been relaxed, businesses across our Council area are reminded they will require a current Entertainments Licence to permit them to operate. Please contact our Licensing section for advice & assistance – 028 71 253253. Dog Control Services – Animal Welfare Services Dog licences can be obtained online at http://council. direct/
Please contact 07512280760 If you are reporting a lost or stray dog. Please note that Council no longer accepts unwanted dogs. If you wish to rehome your dog please 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). If you have any queries regarding the Council's dog control service please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Planning Service
Some staff are working from home and in the office as a hybrid arrangement and continue to provide a full range of functions to ensure service delivery. Officer site visits and Planning Committee Member site visits continue for all cases. External meetings are considered as required and we also engage fully with customers through virtual meetings, written communication and phone calls. With the launch of the new regional Planning Portal system on 5th December 2022, all planning applications should now be submitted online via the following link: https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/articles/new-planning-portal#Submit%20a%20planning%20application. This new paperless system makes the planning process more accessible for all customers to submit applications as well as search, track and comment on all applications received. You will find further information about the new Planning Portal under the following DfI link: https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/articles/new-planning-portal.
Many local planning applications received are delegated whereby decisions will be taken by appointed planning officers. Other planning applications, including major development, will be referred to the Council’s Planning Committee for determination at which stage all interested parties, including objectors and supporters, can participate in the process. Further information regarding Planning Committee procedures is outlined below and you can contact our office if you wish to speak to a member of the Planning Department at any stage of the process by email to: email@example.com, in writing to the Planning Department, DCSDC, 98 Strand Road, Derry, BT48 7NN or by contacting our office at 028 71 253253.
Planning Committee Meetings
Committee Meetings are held as hybrid meetings for Elected Members with Senior Officers in attendance and are held in Council Chambers at Derry Road, Strabane and at the Guildhall in Derry, alternating monthly. The last Planning Committee Meeting was a Special Planning Committee held in Guildhall Chambers, Derry, on Monday 27th March 2023 at 2pm and again on Tuesday 28th March 2023 and can be viewed to watch on the Council’s Youtube Channel. The next Planning Committee Meeting will be held after the Local Government Elections in May – dates yet to be finalised. All planning committee meetings are open to members of the public and arrangements are made to facilitate registered external speakers to join the meeting remotely via Webex or in person in the Council Chambers.
If you wish to request Speaking Rights at any Planning Committee Meeting, please register your request in writing by 12 noon two working days prior to the meeting. You can do so by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, in writing to the Planning Department, DCSDC, 98 Strand Road, Derry, BT48 7NN or by contacting our office at 028 71 253253. You will find full details regarding role and operation of Planning Committees in our ‘Protocol for the Operation of Planning Committee’ Committee Meetings are also livestreamed and proceedings can be viewed via the Council's YouTube Channel.
The scheduled list of applications for discussion at forthcoming Planning Committees are published on this website at: https://www.derrystrabane.com/Services/Planning one week prior to each Committee Meeting.
The Planning Enforcement Service
The Enforcement Service continues to progress and deal with complaints in line with Council's Enforcement Strategy.
Local Development Plan (LDP)
The Local Development Plan Team formally Submitted the Derry City & Strabane District Local Development Plan (LDP 2032) – draft Plan Strategy and supporting documents to the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) on 26th May 2022 as part of the Independent Examination (IE) process. All LDP Submission documents can be viewed here. They are also available for inspection during normal office opening hours, by appointment only, at the Council's two main offices in Derry and Strabane.
Following the Submission of the LDP draft Plan Strategy in May, the Department considered it, to check it is procedurally ‘sound’, that there are no obvious gaps in the evidence base and it is not fundamentally flawed in relation to its regional context. The Council received a formal letter from DfI Planning on 20th September 2022, stating that the Submission had successfully passed its initial checks, so it would be writing to the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) to ‘cause an Independent Examination’.
The Council has since made the Submission documents available to the PAC, who have appointed a Programme Officer – who has undertaken their initial assessment of the LDP dPS and other Submission documents. The PAC wrote to the Council on 23rd December 2022 to advise that it had completed its initial document assessment so it was appointing a Senior Commissioner to undertake the Independent Examination (IE) of our LDP dPS. This will be the next step towards adoption of the LDP Plan Strategy. The Council is currently waiting to hear from the PAC with any initial queries and to set an IE date, but at this stage we anticipate that the Independent Examination is likely to take place in late spring / early summer 2023.
New Regional Planning IT System
The new regional Planning IT System was launched on Monday 5th December 2022 and is operational across 10 Councils. This has replaced the previous NI Planning Portal and provides a modern streamlined service and is more accessible for customers to engage with the planning process, offering online ability to submit planning applications, review and track ongoing applications, make comments and report breaches of planning control. Since the launch of the new system, 63% of all planning applications we have received were submitted online and we are keen to encourage and support customers to increase this further. You will be able to find full information in the following DfI link: New Planning Portal | Department for Infrastructure (infrastructure-ni.gov.uk)
We are aware that there have been a number of initial challenges and problems identified by users of the new system and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. However these are being currently addressed and efforts to resolve any outstanding issues are ongoing. Please find below some useful advice and update on some of the main issues identified:
Problems updating an online application once submitted – there are plans for a system fix to enable amendments to be made to online planning applications after they have been submitted (e.g. amended drawings). However, this will be a wider update across the UK and will take place later in 2023. In the meantime, customers can submit amended plans/drawings and further details to our office by post (DCSDC, 98 Strand Road, Derry, BT48 7NN) or by email (email@example.com). On receipt these will be uploaded and made available on our system by our officers.
Mapping function – the new system offers improved mapping features and some issues raised about searching and plotting should reduce with greater awareness of these various new functions, e.g. searching by partial address, postcode, easting and westing co-ordinates and search radius. Customers may also find the following demonstrations provide helpful advice: Demo video - Start a new application online(external link opens in a new window / tab) and Public Register - application search(external link opens in a new window / tab)
Dates for representations – during data transfer to the new system, the date of all representations prior to 5th December 2022 defaulted to 26th November 2022. Whilst this issue has now been resolved, further investigation is ongoing to address all other types of documents transferred on 26th November 2022.
Missing files / data – some initial reports of missing information were received but it has been confirmed that all data has migrated to the new system. A software update will also address the issue of accessing documents for Outline Planning Applications and requests from customers to view information they cannot find on the system, can be directed to our Planning Office at 02871 253253.
View / Download functions – some customers were unable to view representations made about planning applications, but this has also now been addressed by a software update.
Payment functionality – customers who submit online applications will make immediate payment by debit/credit card or bank transfer at the time of submitting an application. Cheques and cash payments will also remain available for any customers who submit paper application forms. Further frequently asked questions are also available at: https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/articles/planning-portal-faqs and there are a number of links to assist customers in the various functions of the new system below: · Planning Portal User Guide - registration and create an application · Planning Portal User Guide - Public Register · Submit a planning application · Search, track or comment on an application · Make an enforcement complaint · Request a Regional Property Certificate · Respond to consultations
We hope you will find the new Portal System makes your engagement with our planning processes much more efficient and if you have any further queries or continue to experience any difficulties with the new Planning Portal, you can contact our Planning Department at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning our office at 02871 253253.
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 to be carried out under controlled conditions. Full plan applications, building notices and regularisation applications are being accepted, registered and assessed. Property certificates are being accepted and processed.
The Building Control service officers are available to provide advice and assistance – contact via email at email@example.com or from at our website at www.derrystrabane.com/services/Building-Control.
City of Derry Airport - The public are urged to visit the airport website for live flight information and regular. For more information visit –www.cityofderryairport.com Visit Derry – The Centre is open to the public and more info is available at – www.visitderry.com