Council service update Friday December 11th 2020
11 December 2020
Below are details of the current status of Council services on Friday 11th December, taking into account the easing of the short-term circuit breaker regulations by the NI Executive that came into effect on Friday 27 November for a period of two weeks. Changes to services are in blue.
All our services remain under regular review and every effort is being made to keep as many services operational as possible in the current challenging climate.
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.
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 will reopen to the public with restrictions from Friday December 11th Opening Hours are 11am – 4pm.
The Tower Museum will reopen to the public with restrictions from Friday December 11th Opening Hours are 11am – 4pm.
The Alley Theatre in Strabane will reopen to the public with restrictions from Friday December 11th Opening Hours are 11am – 3.30pm.
November’s Full Council meeting took place on Thursday 26 November at 4pm and December’s Full Council will be held on Thursday December 17th.
Derry City and Strabane District Council Leisure Centres will reopen to the public for gym sessions and lane swimming only from Friday December 11th.
Derg Valley Leisure Centre, the Foyle Arena, Templemore Sports Complex and Riversdale Leisure Centre will all reopen and users must continue to pre-book their sessions at derrystrabane.com/leisure.
In line with the lifting of restrictions by the NI Executive, group fitness classes will remain suspended however Functional Individual Training (FIT) Zones have been introduced as an alternative to classes during this period.
Fit Zones at the Foyle Arena are not available as the hall is in use however members can book a space at Templemore Sports Complex instead while sessions will also resume at Derg Valley LC and Riversdale LC.
To acknowledge the on-going support of current paying members during the disruptions to service, all direct debit payments for December 15th will be waived, as well as those already waived on December 1st while 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 will continue to monitor the guidance and legislation, with the aim of re-establishing services.
Leisure Centre users must arrive 'gym ready' as shower and changing room facilities are currently closed.
Vending machines will be operational but on-site cafes remain closed and drinking water stations will be placed out of use so users are advised to bring their own drinking water.
Users will be required to sanitise on arrival and departure and to adhere to strict social distancing measures.
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.
Sports pitches – Council officers are currently liaising with all relevant users to facility competitive fixture requirements. All changing facilities will remain closed. Regular updates will be available on the website at www.derrystrabane.com/leisure
Artificial pitches are currently closed for all activity except at elite level due to Covid-19 Government guidelines. Regular updates will be available on the website at www.derrystrabane.com/leisure
Climbing Wall - Last night the NI Executive launched guidance to accompany Covid-19 restrictions, which come into effect from today (11th December). As per the restrictions, indoor sport and exercise is limited to elite athletes and individual activity. This presents a number of challenges and we are unable to re-open the climbing wall until the current restrictions are relaxed.
The team have already consulted the relevant guidance and an operational plan is in place for climbing at Foyle Arena, once permitted. While we are keen to reopen the facility, we must act within the legislation for now. We fully understand that this must be frustrating for people who are hoping to get back to the sport they love and we appreciate everyone’s patience.
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. 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.
Play Park/Outdoor Areas Temporary Closures - Please note the following Council play and outdoor facilities remain closed on a temporary basis to allow for essential maintenance works to continue:
• Douglas Bridge Play Park
• Crilly Park Play Park, Killeter
• Drumnaspar Picnic Area, Plumbridge
• A section of Riverside Path at Claudy Country Park
• A section of Mourneside Walk, Sion Mills
Please note that the Riverview Play Park, Fountain Hill, Derry,has partially reopened to the public as work continues to complete the works.
Public Parks – All Council public parks and open spaces remain open to the public for exercise purposes 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.
Cemeteries - All Derry City and Strabane District Council owned cemeteries are open and operational from 8am to 4.30pm.
The public are reminded that they 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. You can follow on Facebook @Business Support Derry Strabane and Twitter @dcsdbusiness
Car parks – Car parks are operating as normal.
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. Anyone with any queries please telephone 📞02871 376520 or email – for Birth Registration, please email [email protected] , for Death Registration please[email protected], or for Marriage or Civil Partnership or a general enquiry please email [email protected]. 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
Public Toilets - Council owned public toilets at Strabane, Sion Mills, Plumbridge, Donemana, Cranagh, Barnes Gap and Moorlough currently remain closed. The Council is also involved in the Community Toilet Scheme, a partnership between Council and local businesses across the Council area which allows the public to use their toilet facilities for free without having to make a purchase. A number of premises that are participating in the scheme remain open following Government advice. Further details of toilets available for the public use are available on the council website - https://www.derrystrabane.com/Subsites/Environmental-Health/Health-Housing-Public-Conveniences/Public-Conveniences
The reopening of public toilet facilities will be done so in keeping with Government and PHA guidance and advice with the appropriate measures around health and safety, social distancing and cleansing all being put into place.
Environmental Health Services – Environmental Health staff are continuing to engage proactively with local businesses to provide advice and support and to ensure compliance. Officers are continuing to carry out 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
All sectors needs 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.
Further information and assistance you can email the Health and Safety and Consumer Protection team at [email protected]
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 will be issued for an initial period of 6 months. 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).
♻️Bin Collection Services♻️
Our refuse collection service continues to remain operational and the public are encouraged to continue to use their scheduled bin system using all of the bins provided. Council is in the process of rolling its final phase of the Brown Bin Scheme for garden/green waste. Further details on this scheme including the areas covered can be found atwww.derrystrabane.com/greenwaste
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 – they are Eglinton, Pennyburn, Strathfoyle, Claudy, Strahans Road in Strabane, Newtownstewart, Donemana, Claudy, Plumbridge and Park.
Please note that ❄ Winter opening hours have been introduced at all our recycling centres from Monday 26th October.
. Eglinton Recycling Centre will reopen to the public this Friday December 11th from 8am to 5pm on an appointment only basis. The public can book their slots between 8am and 5pm from Monday – Saturday by calling 028 71 376590 or online at derrystrabane.com/recyclingcentres.
· Strabane Recycling Centres including Strahan's Road, Newtownstewart, Donemana and Plumbridge – 10am – 4.45pm Monday – Saturday.
· Strathfoyle Recycling Centre - 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday, 1pm to 5pm Sunday
· Park Recycling Centre – 12noon to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am – 5pm Saturday, Closes Sunday
· Claudy Recycling Centre – 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm Saturday and Closed Sunday
· The 6pm to 8pm slot for Glendermott Road will no longer operate during the Winter months, therefore last bookings will be now 4:10pm Monday to Friday.
Slots are available Monday – Friday from 9.30am-12noon, 1pm – 4.30pm. Saturday: 8am – 6pm, Sunday: 1- 5pm. Access to the centre will be by booking only. No one will gain admission without an appointment. Slots can be booked by calling 02871376590, with lines open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Please note that access is limited to cars and small vans only. No large vans or trailers will be permitted, however, Council continues to work on a booking system to facilitate these vehicles, with details available in due course.
· Pennyburn Recycling Centre - 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm Saturday and 1pm – 5pm on Sunday.
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. If you are travelling to recycling centres please allow 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:
. Eglinton – 8am to 5pm Monday to Saturday
· Pennyburn – 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm Saturday and 1pm – 5pm on Sunday.
· Glendermott Rd Recycling Centre - Slots are available from 9.30am-12noon, 1pm – 4.30pm) Saturday: 8am – 6pm, Sunday: 1- 5pm.
· Strathfoyle - 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm Saturday and 1-5pm Sunday.
· Newtownstewart - 10am to 4.45pm Monday to Saturday, closed Sunday.
· Donemana - 10am to 4.45pm Monday to Saturday and closed Sunday.
· Claudy – 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm Saturday and Closed Sunday.
· Strahans Road Strabane - 10am to 4.45pm Monday to Saturday, Closed on Sunday.
· Park Recycling Centre – 12noon to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm Saturday and Closed Sunday.
· Plumbridge Recycling Centre – 10am to 4.45pm from Monday to 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.
It will continue to open two days per week, every Tuesday and Thursday, from 9am to 4pm, to dispose of general and green waste 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.
♻️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.
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.
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.
Planning staff are receiving new applications and 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 now 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.
Planning Committee meetings recommenced following social distancing guidance in July and subsequently in September 2020. The December Planning Committee meeting was held virtually on Wednesday, 2 December at 2pm and is available to view via the Council’s Youtube channel - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLxT_HAb61Q. The next Planning Committee is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 6th January at 2pm and will once again be available to view live on Youtube.
As agreed by Elected Members of Derry City and Strabane District Council in response to Government guidelines and in the interests of providing services safely across the Council area, Virtual Planning Committees will continue until further notice. Further information regarding 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.
The re-consultation on the LDP Draft Plan Strategy stage ran for a period of eight weeks from 11 September to 06 November. All documents were available online or for inspection by appointment only at the Council offices on Strand Road, Derry, or Derry Road, Strabane. Information was also made available at all Council leisure centres and at all public libraries within the Council area. For more information visit – www.derrystrabane.com/ldp
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 planning portal: https://www.planningni.gov.uk or contact the service directly at [email protected].
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 will continue for occupied properties and resultant Completion Certificates will be qualified 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 – A large number of Council organised events have been cancelled. The Council held a very successful Halloween at home virtual festival last month – you can look back and enjoy some of the videos at -www.derryhalloween.com and has commenced its extensive online Christmas festival celebrations.
Events in Council owned facilities, with the exception of weddings, have been cancelled and will be reviewed going forward.
The Council is delighted that Imelda May has rescheduled her performances until next May for the 2021 City of Derry Jazz Festival at the Millennium Forum – www.millenniumforum.com
Details of the planned Christmas 2020 campaign have been launched and include videos of the virtual Christmas Switch Ons that took place in both Derry and Strabane last weekend.
All events planned will be subject to Government restrictions and guidelines and the Council will continue to review all future events in line with Government and public health guidance.
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 Visitor Information Centre in Waterloo Place has reopened to the public from Friday 11th December in compliance with Government guidelines. Opening hours are Monday – Sunday 10am – 5pm.