Belfast Telegraph

Planning advice service Community Places secures £465k funding

An advice service which helps community groups tackle planning issues in their area has received a funding boost worth almost £500,000.

Voluntary organisation, Community Places, offers guidance to people living in disadvantaged areas on how to engage in often complex planning bids.

It is currently working with residents who wanted to raise issues on major applications such as the Casement Park redevelopment in west Belfast and the proposed new University of Ulster campus in the north of the city centre.

The Department of the Environment funding package of £465,500 over the next three years represents an almost 10% increase on previous allocations.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said the greater financial commitment would enable greater support to be offered to communities during the period around the transfer of planning functions to local councils in 2015.

"Planning can be complex and has the potential to impact on all of our lives," he said.

"What this fund is about is giving everyone a fair chance; assisting those in disadvantaged and marginalised communities to have their say in applications in their area.

"Local government reform is about bringing planning power closer to people by transferring the majority of planning functions to councils. Local people making decisions. Local people influencing decisions."

Belfast Telegraph

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