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13th Feb 2013Down Railway Gets £32k essentail to its expansion to Ballydugan

13th Feb 2013Down Railway Gets £32k essentail to its expansion by CadoganEnright

Down Railway gets £32.500 for acquisition of land for extension to new Ballydugan Station

Letter to Minister Attwood March 2012

 

To: Minister Attwood

Dept of Environment

Government Buildings

 

Cllr Cadogan Enright, Downpatrick, March 26, 2012

Dear Minister,

I would like to draw your attention to unnecessary and damaging bureaucracy at the Department of the Environment over 4/5 years that has resulted in Newcastle’s Promenade Bye-laws and bye-laws at Tyrella and Murlough being incorrectly struck down, damaging Down Councils ability to manage these facilities.

Council management in 2008, prepared draft bye-laws for Minerstown beach. It should have been a routine approval by the Department of the Environment by January 2009. But almost a year and a half later in August of 2009 lawyers for the Department advised the Council that they did not have the right to make bye-laws and thus bye-laws for Newcastle Promenade and even the Tyrella blue-flag beach were effectively being struck down.

Although Down District did not agree with this assessment by the Departments legal team, Down Council’s own legal officer moved rapidly to have the ‘vires’ of the council altered to allow the council to issue bye-laws. A year and a half of further delays ensued as civil servants failed to deliver the order to your predecessor Minister Poots for his signature. Finally, local Environmentalists from Killough, Minerstown, Lecale Conservation and myself visited Minister Poots in his office in Belfast and the Minster gave an assurance that there would be no further delays, and within a few months the order was signed in January of 2010.

Everyone then assumed that given the importance of the Tourist Trade to Down District, the Department would not dally any further with helping the Council restore bye-laws to vital areas like Tyrella, Murlough, Newcastle as well as protect wildlife in Minerstown. But we were wrong.

The Department has now exceeded its previous excess of bureaucracy with a new wave of unnecessary and sometimes down-right ridiculous queries. Council officers have been frustrated in their efforts to restore bye-laws to Down District.

As we are now entering the fifth year of this saga, I asked council staff to list the often ridiculous queries they have had to deal with from the department, so I could draw them to your attention.

I am sure that you will realise that writing bye-laws for a beach, promenade or any other venue should be a fairly routine matter for Councils working with the Department of the Environment.

In conclusion, could I say that I feel you have been doing a number of good things during your period with the Department, so I hope you will be able to move this matter on, and enable other councils not to be hindered in this manner too in the future.

Sincerely,

Cllr Cadogan Enright

Downpatrick and Lecale

 

Att. List of correspondence

 

HISTORY OF BUREAUCRACY 

22 May 2008 Draft Bye-laws forwarded to Legal Services.
28 November 2008 Amended Draft Bye-laws returned to Council from Legal Services.
12 January 2009 Following period of internal consultation draft Bye-laws returned to Legal Services.
11 February 2009 Council’s Solicitor advised that draft Bye-laws had been forwarded to the Department for consideration.
13 August 2009 Department advised that in order to have jurisdiction to make Bye-laws for the Seashore and Newcastle Promenade an order had to be made to extend Sections 82 and 83 of the Public Health Acts (Amendment) Act 1907 to the District.This meant that the existing Bye-laws dated16 February 1998forNewcastleand Tyrella Beaches had never been valid.
8 October 2009 Following public advertisement by the Council the Council’s Solicitor was asked to apply to the Department to have the legislation extended to the District.
22 October 2009 The Council’s Solicitor confirmed that the application to the Department had been made.
25 January 2010 Following several reminders to the Council’s Solicitor regarding the application she wrote to the Department pressing for a response.
22 January 2010 The Department advised that papers seeking Ministerial consent had been drafted and would be forwarded to the Departmental Solicitor for approval.
8 March 2010 Council’s Solicitor wrote to advise she was still awaiting a response from the Department.
19 March 2010 Department advised that papers had been sent to Departmental Solicitor on 8 February 2010, were acknowledged 15 July 2010 but it would be up to 6 weeks before the matter could be dealt with.
6 May 2010 Department advised that a response had been received from the Departmental Solicitor and the Council would be advised of the comments shortly.
26 June 2010 Meeting held with Council’s Solicitor regarding outstanding queries on the Bye-law and letter confirming queries forwarded22 June 2010.
23 June 2010 Following reminders on the matter the Department advised that amendments had been made to the papers and a further draft was with senior management for approval before re-issue to the Departmental Solicitor for final clearance.  It was hoped the Order would be in place around September 2010.
9 July 2010 Letter regarding outstanding queries sent to Department from Council’s Solicitor.
9 July 2010 Letter regarding further queriesreceived from Council’s Solicitor.
5 August 2010 Response forwarded to Council’s Solicitor 5 August 2010.
6 September 2010 Response forwarded to Department from Council’s Solicitor.
7 October 2010 Letter from Edwin Poots, Minister of the Environment, advising that the final draft Order would be agreed shortly and be in place by the end of October.
13 January 2011 Order confirmed as made to come into operation4 February 2011.
8 February 2011 Letter received from Council’s Solicitor confirming enabling legislation had been made and that we were in a position to move forward with the Bye-laws.
10 February 2011 Most recent set of Bye-laws received from Council’s Solicitor with queries over the map attached to the Bye-laws.
7 March 2011 Letter received from Council’s Solicitor enclosing amended draft Bye-lawsreflecting comments made by the Department.
11 March 2011 Revised map forwarded to Council’s Solicitor.
14 March 2011 Council’s Solicitor confirmed the map to be in order.
23 March 2011 Council’s Solicitor asked to confirm that the Bye-laws could go for public consultation.
12 April 2011 Revised Bye-laws received from Council’s Solicitor.
24 May 2011 Letter forwarded to Council’s Solicitor asking that the Department be pressed that the Council could move to public consultation on the draft Bye-laws.
26 May 2011 Letter received from Council’s Solicitor outlining the process for making the Bye-laws.
29 June 2011 Letter received from Council’s Solicitor as to why Bye-laws for Minerstown andMurloughBeacheswere not included within those forNewcastleBeachand Promenade.
7 June 2011 Council’s Solicitor requested to forward Bye-laws dated16 February 1998to Department.
15 July 2011 Substantive issues responded to via letter to Council’s Solicitor.
15 July 2011 Letter issued to Council’s Solicitor expressing frustration at Department’s approach to “composite” Bye-laws and suggesting a meeting to discuss.
25 July 2011 Email received from Department as to why the Murlough andMinerstownBeachBye-laws were not covered under those relating to Newcastle Seashore and Promenade.
25 July 2011 Response issued from Council advising that each facility had its own requirements and a “generic set” of Bye-laws would make confusing reading for the public.
31 August 2011 Email forwarded to Council’s Solicitor regarding the need for individual Bye-laws to take account of the needs of individual facilities.
5 September 2011 Email forwarded to Council’s Solicitor advising that Bye-laws were to be kept “facility specific”.
7 September 2011 Copy letter received from Council’s Solicitor asking that the Department approve the draft Bye-laws forNewcastleBeachand Promenade.
5 September 2011 Council advised its Solicitor that the point regarding existing Bye-laws was reclindent  as the enabling legislation had not been in place therefore they were redundant.
12 October 2011 Email forwarded to Council’s Solicitor that in order to go to public consultation on the draft Bye-laws.
12 October 2011 Onward email confirmed from Council’s Solicitor that in order to go to public consultation.
15 October 2011 Email received from Council’s Solicitor asking Council to hold off on public consultation until a response is received from the Department.
4 November 2011 Letter from Council’s Solicitor regarding further comments from Department.
10 November 2011 Further letter sent to Council’s Solicitor on above point and requesting that the Development urgently confirm it was in order to go to public consultation.
10 November 2011 Letter sent to Council’s Solicitor regarding outstanding issues.
12 December 2011 Reminder letter to Council Solicitor regarding current position.
19 December 2011 Letter received from Council’s Solicitor copying correspondence to Department regarding why we can’t move to public consultation.
19 December 2011 Letter received from Council’s Solicitor raising further substantive comments from Department.
4 January 2012 All substantive issues responded to via letter to Council’s Solicitor.
Additional correspondence has since ensued – I have not had the chance to upate it here

 

Successful End to Campaign to stop repeated felling of Trees in Malone and New Bridge Street

A successful conclusion seems to have been brought to 4-year campaign by residents of New Bridge Street and Malone to protect the forest overlooking the Belfast roundabout in Downpatrick.

Action Taken Against Felling of Trees in New Bridge Street

Action Taken Against Felling of Trees in New Bridge Street

Cllr Cadogan Enright confirmed to the Down Recorder that he had written to the Chair of the NIHE Board on behalf of the residents of New Bridge Street to protest the failure of local NIHE management to prosecute those responsible for cutting down or damaging trees over several years despite local residents being willing to give evidence to the PSNI.

Cllr Enright said “We have fought hard to stop these forests from being chopped down. They are a vital local resource, an oasis of wildlife including a much-loved family of red squirrels and a delight to behold as you drive into Downpatrick from Belfast.”

“Over the last four years the NIHE repeatedly reassured that if we got the name of those involved, the Housing Executive would take action.  We finally caught a culprit, and took his registration number. Thanks to PSNI community policeman Sgt McKenna taking action to trace the car-number we wrote down, we discovered that the tree-surgeon works for the housing executive.” Said Cadogan Enright.

“I asked for the Chair of the Housing Executive to intervene with local management, and ensure action against persons who have been cutting down our trees these last 4 years on repeated occasions, costing £8000 to the NIHE for replacement trees on one occasion alone. If no action is ever taken against any person on this issue, no deterrence will exist against future vandalism.”

The Chief Executive has now replied saying “It transpired that a private resident had paid the Housing Executive’s tree surgery contractor to undertake this work.  The contractor was challenged on this matter and he gave his assurance that this was a one–off occurrence.  The contractor is no longer employed by us and, having sought legal advice, it was decided that it would not be in the best interest of the Housing Executive to pursue this any further as the damage was minimal and we might lose the case if it went to court.  We did however confront the private resident and made it clear that this was unacceptable.”

“Last year we read in The Down Recorder how the Housing Executive was not able to prosecute any one of hundreds of cases of trees being cut down in this area. Possible reasons are now emerging with this case. I am still not satisfied that NIHE has acted correctly. They should have written to the PSNI confirming that they had not given permission for the trees to be cut down, and thus allowed the PSNI to take action in this case.” concluded Cllr Cadogan Enright

Lessons from Northumberland for Mournes National Park

At a special meeting of Down Council on Monday 12th December 2012 to discuss its policy on  Mournes-based National Park, it considered a presentation from Tony Gates, Chief Executive, Northumberland National Park.

Following the presentation  a wide range of concerns were discussed by members present, especially concerning fears expressed at recent public meetings that the local population living in the park could be adversely affected by planning issues and farming practices might have to change.
Tony Gates, a Tyrone man who has lived and worked in the Mournes area, explained that a National Park in the UK has no powers to compel farmers in any way, and in Northumberland the Parks Authority was instrumental in securing Environmental funding payments to farmers who wanted to support the work of the park on a voluntary basis.
Following questioning on planning issues by Cllr Cadogan Enright, Tony Gates confirmed that under the 1949 Parks Act, National Parks could operate as a sub-committee of the Council for planning purposes. Cllr Enright said that this approach might ‘square the circle on the park between its supporters and detractors and ensure that the local populations interests are secured’.
It was proposed by Cllr Eamonn O’Neill that Council management write to Minister Attwood restating the Councils support for the National Parks proposal for the Mournes area. He accepted an amendment from Cllr Enright that the letter of support should firstly emphasise the idea of copying the English 1949 Act and ensure that the National Park operated as a sub-committee of the new ‘Super-Council’ and secondly, reflect the desire of the Irish Minister for the Environment and Louth County Council to have a cross-boarder “Euro-Park” approach to this project.
Council members confirmed existing policy in favour of the park and requested Council Management to write to the Minister in this manner

Cllr Cadogan Enright calls National Park bluff on Cllr Harold McKee UUP 12th dec 2012

Cllr Cadogan Enright calls National Parl bluff on Cllr Harold McKee UUP 12th dec 2012

Challenging anti-National park bullies 28th November 2012

Challenging anti-National park bullies 28th November 2012

Council accepts Cllr Enright’s proposal – copy 1949 Parks act and be a planning committee in new super council 21st Nov 2012

Council accepts Cllr Enrights proposal – copy 1949 Parks act and be a planning committee in new super council 21st Nov

Newcastle Leisure Centre Oct 2012

Site for Newcastle Leisure Centre needs careful consideration – we are not making any new green spaces

National Park – 19th Sept 2012

Arguments rage over National PArk

National Park – 19 September 2012

Competition for National Park status from Fermanagh and Co Derry