Belfast Telegraph

Councils to be handed more powers

The Executive has agreed to transfer powers to local councils from 2015, it has been revealed.

Planning, roads, regeneration and housing responsibilities will shift to 11 new authorities, said environment minister Alex Attwood.

He said: "This is all about bringing power closer to citizens. I welcome Executive colleagues' endorsement of proposals to transfer powers to local councils and this will become a reality in April 2015.

"The more power in local hands the more democratic our society and the more likely that local people will get the local services they need."

Other functions being transferred will include delivering urban regeneration, community and economic development and tourism. It will include the EU Regional Development Programme, spot listing of buildings and greater involvement of local government in sports decisions.

Mr Attwood said: "This decision moves reform up another gear."

Councils will take over control over planning development and enforcement, off street parking, environmental improvement and neighbourhood renewal, determining whether houses are unfit and registering those in multiple occupation.

They will also have responsibility for youth and social entrepreneurship measures, supporting tourism business start-ups and small scale accommodation developments, plus local water recreation facilities.

Mr Attwood added: "With planning and development plans transferred, councils will have the opportunity to shape the life of the council area so that it is better planned and offers better job potential."

He said: "Getting all of this right will help transform the way we plan and sustain our cities, towns and rural areas while boosting our economy and protecting our environment."


From Belfast Telegraph