Archive for the 'Planning issues and illegal development' Category

REPORT BACK TO FELLOW COUNCILORS FROM MEETING WITH STRANGFORD COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION LAST FRIDAY

Dear Fellow Councillors,

I met with members of the Strangford Community Association on Friday as promised and here is my report back to you as requested.

The Community Association agreed that they had indeed met with Marie Ward and her staff and reviewed her proposals back in 2011, but had explained to her at that time that what Council was proposing was way off the mark, and would render the lower green unusable for the community. Hence they were enormously surprised when an almost identical plan came back as part of the Mournes Coastal Route plan.

As you know, DRAP has, since then, funded a Village Plan which, following much local consultation,  is widely supported by the community. It has the backing of the Festival Committee. The Inverbrena hall committee and local sports and other clubs.

This SCA plan sees the lower village green continuing as the centre of village life, in the community and being used for a wide range of community activities.

Examples of the lower green being used as a multi use venue for events include;:

  • The annual village festival
  • The annual fun-fair
  • Used for the mobile cinema which visits Strangford regularly
  • As a mustering point for groups arriving in Strangford before embarkation on the Ferry
  • As a scenic display area for vintage cars during their visit
  • As a place to put the big marque tent for big groups of tourists. For instance the bicycle tour that regularly calls in Strangford for refreshments
  • As a (free) launching and recovery area for boats belonging to local people also for visiting tourists and the emergency services (police, coastguard  and fire services) alike. This has been made more difficult these last 2 years as Council has turned it into an unofficial car-park for people, too lazy to use the ferry car-park provided.
  • As a recreation area for picnics, children playing etc.

Thus you will understand that when I shared Marie Wards plan with the community  members, there was a very negative reaction. Key local objections included;

  • Disagreement over her effective change of use from the green’s traditional use as a common area.
  • Fencing off the green and surrounding it with shrubs would eliminate almost all the uses the green is currently put to, outlined above.  The proposed shrubs would have to be resistant to regular salt water flooding!
  • Putting a giant piece of public art in the centre of the tiny bit of green space remaining would wipe out the lower green as a usable social space.
  • They were not happy about losing green grass on the seaward side either, they saw no purpose in paving over the green area. The area beside the quay has been strengthened and protected with a plastic matrix material that allows grass to grow though whilst preventing damage.  The community are happy with this arrangement as it facilitates the lower green as a flexible space that can be used for multiple purposes – extending up from the water during the boat launching season – or reaching down to seaward to create a bigger recreation area for children or for events being held on the green.
  • The proposed fencing and shrubbery would block the drive-in entrance on the village side prevent ingress and exit by vehicles like vintage cars, fairground vehicles and so forth.
  • No-one seems to want the ‘public art’. If we have to have it they suggest it could go on the upper green which is already used for ornamental purposes – the community does not want the lower green to be converted to another ornamental space as proposed by Council
  • The Strangford Committee plan envisaged the area where the old bus stop used to be (outside Kevin Óg’s) being set back to accomadate buses without blocking traffic. Local people DO NOT WANT the two cherry trees to be cut down as envisaged by the Council Plan, The Council plan incorrectly labels the ferry shelter as a bus shelter in its plan, this is not a bus-stop. The local community regards the new ferry shelter as an eyesore and worse than useless as a protection from the elements, and wants the old shelter in the ferry terminal to be re-opened.
  • People are concerned that the paddling area is marked as ‘redevelopment’. This area needs its pebble beach renewed, but does not need redeveloped. The association noted that sand attracts oil from the ferry and elsewhere, but pebbles stay clean

Marie’s compromise Council  diagram simply removes the formalisation of car-parking in place of illegal parking on the green. This is not enough of a concession – the community needs the maximum amount of green space for the lower green to facilitate its traditional purposes – and the purpose envisaged in the Strangford Village Plan – i.e. being the beating heart of the local community

Given the fact that it is clear that Council Management appear flatly determined to press ahead with their plan, only a consensus by councillors which states that the key aspects of the Strangford Village plan must be observed, is likely to stop management pressing ahead against the clearly articulated views of the local community, as expressed in their village plan,

I hope we can weigh in behind the local community on this, we basically need to tell the Mournes Coastal Project team that they have got it badly wrong in Strangford, and to remove the points objected to above – and include the proposals in the DRAP-funded village plan

Can I suggest an early meeting to instruct management on ‘the will of the council’.

Please feel free to call me if you have any questions

Cllr Cadogan Enright

07590462329

LETTER TO DOWN RECORDER IN REPLY TO COUNCIL CHIEF EXECUTIVES LETTER ON VILLAGE GREEN

Sir,

The reply by the Council Chief Executive on his proposed development of our village green in last weeks paper failed to address any of the issues raised by Alan Johnston’s excellent letter the week before.

Councils plan for the lower village green envisages much of it it being turned into an ornamental space like the upper green. The villages own DRAP-funded plan was widely consulted on and sees the lower green as the ‘beating heart’ of the village, continuing to be used as the centre of village life, used for a wide range of community activities.

Examples of the lower green being used in this manner include;

  • The annual village festival
  • The annual fun-fair
  • Used for the mobile cinema which visits Strangford regularly
  • As a mustering point for groups arriving in Strangford before embarkation on the Ferry
  • As a scenic display area for vintage cars during their visit
  • As a place to put the big marque tent for big groups of tourists. For instance the bicycle tour that regularly calls in Strangford for refreshments
  • As a (free) launching and recovery area for boats belonging to local people also for visiting tourists and the emergency services (police, coastguard  and fire services) alike. This has been made more difficult these last 2 years as Council has turned it into an unofficial car-park for people, too lazy to use the ferry car-park provided.
  • As a recreation area for picnics, children playing etc.

When Cllr Cadogan Enright showed us Councils latest proposals last Friday, we had many issues with it;

  • Disagreement over Councils effective change of use from the green’s traditional use as a common area to an ornamental area similar to the upper green.
  • Fencing off the green and surrounding it with shrubs would eliminate almost all the uses the green is currently put to, outlined above.
  • Putting a giant piece of public art in the centre of the tiny bit of green space remaining would wipe out the lower green as a usable social space.
  • We are not happy about losing green grass on the seaward side either. We saw no purpose in paving over the green area. The area beside the quay has been strengthened and protected with a plastic matrix material that allows grass to grow though whilst preventing damage.  The community are happy with this arrangement as it facilitates the lower green as a flexible space that can be used for multiple purposes – extending up from the water during the boat launching season – or reaching down to seaward to create a bigger recreation area for children or for events being held on the green.
  • The proposed fencing and shrubbery would block the drive-in entrance on the village side prevent ingress and exit by vehicles like vintage cars, fairground vehicles, cinema and so forth.
  • No-one seems to want the ‘public art’. If we have to have this we suggest it could go on the upper green which is already used for ornamental purposes – the community does not want the lower green to be converted to another ornamental space as proposed by Council

The Councils compromise proposal simply removes the formalization of car-parking in place of illegal parking on the green. This is not enough of a concession – the community needs the maximum amount of green space for the lower green to facilitate its traditional purposes – and the purpose envisaged in the Strangford Village Plan – i.e. being the beating heart of the local community

We would thank Councillors Cadogan Enright and Liam Johnston for their forthright and public support for us on this issue. We would invite other local councillors to make their views publicly known. We urge all local councillors to get behind the Strangford Community Association.

Diarmuid Riordan, Chair

Gary Laverty, Treasurer

07816868019

STRANGFORD VILLAGE RESISTS MOVES BY COUNCIL ON VILLAGE GREEN

 Press Release by Cllr CADOGAN ENRIGHT  on behalf of Strangford Community Association

Strangford Village Community Association met Friday afternoon to consider compromise proposals from Council over the re-development of the lower village green abutting the slipway in the centre of the village.

examining plans at Stranford Village Green,  Cllr Cadogan Enright on the Lower Green by the slipway. Village committee Chair Diarmuid Riordan is right and treasurer Gary Laverty is left.

examining plans at Stranford Village Green, Cllr Cadogan Enright on the Lower Green by the slipway. Village committee Chair Diarmuid Riordan is right and treasurer Gary Laverty is left.

This followed a meeting of local Councillors at Down District Council on Wednesday afternoon, where Councilor Cadogan Enright was delegated to meet with the Community Association and see if a compromise could be found between the community’s DRAP-funded Strangford Village Plan and the plans put forward by Council management for the lower green area.

Councillor Enright said, “It was clear that the latest proposals from Council are not even beginning to reflect the Strangford Village Plan that was formulated by local people with the help of the Down Rural Area Partnership.  Councils’ Mournes Coastal Route tourist initiative basically seeks to turn most of the lower green into an ornamental space like the upper green”.

Community Association Chair Diarmuid Riordan said “The lower village green is a recreational space for locals and tourists alike. It needs to be preserved for the Village Festival or the funfair or cinema, and for continuing the tradition of launching little boats, or for a safe children’s ‘paddling area’. Council’s so-called ‘Mournes Coastal Route’ can only benefit from such common sense, making our village green a far more attractive space for visitors than just another car-park. We already have an ornamental space at the upper green, we don’t need a second one.”

Community Association treasurer Gary Laverty said “We hope that the current negotiations being brokered between Council and Strangford villagers achieves success. The latest Council compromise diagram simply removes the formalisation of car-parking in place of illegal parking on the green. This is not enough of a concession – the community needs the maximum amount of green space for the lower green to facilitate its traditional purposes – and the purpose envisaged in the Strangford Village Plan – i.e. being the beating heart of the local community.”

Councillor Enright said “Council management declined last week to meet with village representatives, and sought a meeting instead with local councillors to review the revised plans. I know that Strangford Community Association village committee continues to demand a meeting with senior council management. I believe that local Councillors  will have to instruct Council management meet with local people and reflect their needs. It will only help tourism as the village plan was well thought out. I have written to my fellow councilors outlining compromise proposals from the community association meeting on Friday. Hopefully Councillors will ensure that Council Management will see sense, and this issue can be finally laid to rest to the satisfaction of all”.

STRANGFORD VILLAGE RESISTS MOVES BY COUNCIL ON VILLAGE GREEN

Strangford Village Community Association has hit out at Down Council attempting to redevelop Strangford Village Green without consulting with local people. Down Council intends to make permanent its unofficial conversion of the slipway area into a car park and to build a huge piece of public art in would then remain of the lower Green as well as other extensive works on the green using funds from the Down Rural Area Partnership (DRAP) for as part of their Mourne Coastal project.

Cllr Cadogan Enright (left) with Strangford Community Association Committee protest Down Council designs on village green

Cllr Cadogan Enright (left) with Strangford Community Association Committee protest Down Council designs on village green

Councilor Cadogan Enright has attempted to intervene and brokered a meeting last week between Mark Mohan representing Council management and the Village Association. Cllr Enright said “there were easy an obvious compromises where both sides could get what they want to the benefit of the village green. I was shocked when Mark Mohan later informed us on Friday night that the council Director concerned (Marie Ward) had refused to meet village committee representatives to work out a compromise”.

Community Association Chair Diarmuid Riordan said “Local people are appalled. To make matters worse Council officers are aware that the village committee were given substantial funding by the Down Rural Area Partnership (DRAP)  to consult with local people and develop an ‘Integrated Village Plan’ to reflect what local people would like to see in all areas of village life. This included having the Village Green as a shared space for all the community and tourists alike. Down Council however has decided to press ahead with its own plans, and intends to approach DRAP to fund these plans in defiance of the wishes of local people.

Association Treasurer Gary Laverty said Cllr Enright said, “ Strangford Community Association are writing to DRAP to urge the Rural Development office in Ards not to release the funds for the Strangford part of the Mournes Coastal scheme, as the basic requirement under the DRA P scheme for community consultation have not been met.”

Cadogan Enright said, “The slipway is almost the only public one left on this side of Strangford Lough. The Council has turned it into an unofficial carpark even though a Ferry carpark already exists. Both local people and tourists alike need somewhere to launch their boats. Not everyone is in a yacht club. I have photographs going back to the 50’s and 60’s  and before of the slipway.  This is part of the fabric of the village. This is going to turn into another ‘Strangford Fence’ campaign. We have only just finished fighting off DRD’s attempt to fence off New Quay, now we will have to fight off a new land-grab on a community space by the Council”.

Diarmuid Riordan agreed and said “A statue of Lenin would be more welcome in Kiev at the moment than Councils statue in the middle of our green. This is the heart of the village where the fairground, the community festival and the public life of the village takes place. If we have to have a statue, then there are 2 spaces in the upper green where they could be situated.”

The Village committee continues to demand a meeting with senior council management, and has vowed to resist any proposal inimical to the best interests of the lower green or Strangford Village as a whole.

DOWNPATRICKS FUTURE DEPENDS ON SAUL ROAD DEVELOPMENT – sent to papers today – copy my points for your objection

SAUL ROAD – PLANNERS MUST GET IT RIGHT

Sir,             (NOTE use reference R/2013/0544f to object when writing to Planning Office in Rathkelter House, Market St. DPK)

The huge new housing development proposed for the Saul Road in Downpatrick, is going to be the litmus test of the sincerity and professionalism of the Roads Service and Planning Service in Down District.

For years the Roads Service has been saying that any ring-road around Downpatrick must be ‘developer-led’. I.E. Paid for by developers of the land in question. This development parallels the route of the ‘Eastern Distributor Road’ shown in the development plan, and therefore must be built off that road, and not the Saul Road.

Planners put this ring road in the ‘Area Plan’ for Downpatrick. It links the Hospital to the Belfast Road by crossing the Ballyhornan, Saul and Strangford roads in a wide arc. It would dramatically reduce congestion in Downpatrick, and allow the Southern side of the town to be developed in line with the expansion envisaged in the Area Plan. The new upgraded Sewerage plant was constructed to accommodate up to 20,000 people with this in mind.

We were told that without this link road, development would be restricted on that side of the town.

But instead of following the Area Plan, this development proposes to discharge onto the already congested Saul Road, orientated to overlook and dominate Ardenlee. This development should be orientated away from Ardenlee and built along the new link road. When the new hospital was built, they were forced to deliver the bit of the ring-road off the Ardglass Road roundabout . This development must be one of the next links in the chain. Developers need to understand that this vision for Downpatrick serves their interests too.

The Roads Service and the Planning Service now have a chance to deliver what they have been talking about for years. If they fail, politicians must intervene. They should note that after the May elections Councillors will have the power to set planning policy, and will be able to insist that the Area Plan is delivered for the benefit of the whole town.

If planners fail Downpatrick on this one, we will be left with congestion, an inability to deliver potential growth and jobs locally and with the Hospital ‘marooned’ on the wrong side of town giving the bureaucrats up at the Ulster Hospital a further excuse to cut our local services.

Yours etc

Cllr Cadogan Enright

MEETING ENVIRONMENT MINISTER ON GLOBAL WARMING WITH FARMERS REPRESENTATIVES

Local farmers group ‘Down District Farmers for Renewable Energy’ (DDFFRE) met with Department of the Environment Minister Mark H  Durkan on Monday afternoon to seek his support for the Lecale area being recognized as the UK reference site for energy storage and micro-grid technologies. DDFFRE were supported by Ulster Farmers Union Gary Hawkes, UFU chief policy officer Chris Osborne, renewable energy companies and Down Councilor Cadogan Enright.

Some of the delegation to the Minister. Left to right, Cllr Cadogan Enright with Ulster Farmers Union Chief Policy Officer Chris Osbourne and Down District Farmers representatives Declan Owens and Alan Montgomery

Some of the delegation to the Minister. Left to right, Cllr Cadogan Enright with Ulster Farmers Union Chief Policy Officer Chris Osbourne and Down District Farmers representatives Declan Owens and Alan Montgomery

Delegation leader Cllr Enright said “An extremely constructive meeting addressed the Northern Irelands Regional Development Policy and perceived gaps in how this was translated in the down and Ards Area Plan. There was a concern that Northern Ireland could lose the opportunity to become the UK lead in these new technology areas if planning policy did not reflect national policy. We noted how the Scottish Government had succeeded in gaining the UK reference site for wave and tidal energy.” CLICK FOR DETAILS OF EXCITING LOCAL PROJECT HERE 

DDFFRE Chairperson Alan Montgomery said, “Many will remember how the existing Area Plan was published years late with significant gaps. In particular, it is clear that current regional commitments to tackling Global Warming and moving energy policy towards renewable energy were not reflected in the old Area Plan as these subjects were not on the agenda when it was formulated. This has a serious impact on the way planners make decisions and could affect our pilot project. Planner are only required to deal with matters referred to in policy.”

Gary Hawkes, Ulster Farmers Union rural enterprise chairman said, “With ongoing capacity problems continuing to affect grid connection for small scale renewables in Northern Ireland, the UFU believe that this micro-grid solution is an alternative way forward.  If the go ahead is granted, this pilot could be spread out to other rural parts of the country and allow farmers to create community energy networks for their local areas, with much needed storage and distribution solutions. However planning policy must follow regional policy if this is to happen.”

Minister Durkan undertook to arrange follow-up meetings with the Northern Irish Environment Agency, to see how Regional Development Policy could be translated more effectively in Area Planning. He undertook to see how his department could assist Rural Development initiatives around micro-grids and energy storage and how they could support the Invest NI-backed Lecale micro-grid pilot project based in the Bishopscourt and Ardglass areas of County Down.

News article

WHY WAS MY LAST POST ON THIS PAGE IMPORTANT TO YOU? HOW WILL GLOBAL WARMING AFFECT US HERE?

Globalwarming lecale This NASA diagram shows the effect in Down District if the Greenland Ice Sheet melts and the West Antarctic Ice sheet enters the sea. We become a group of islands and the Ards peninsula starts to disappear under water.

See my website and try other scenarios for yourself www.enright.ie/maps . In April 2013 the level of carbon dioxide in the air went above 400 parts per million for the first time since before humans evolved on the planet. This will have an effect if not stopped.

Aside from impact on the human population, Cambridge scientists predict that over 50% of bird species worldwide will become extinct from global warming with similar impacts on most other life forms.

Annual report to voters and constituents in every house in every village in Lecale

Dear Constituent,
I would like to wish you and your families a Happy New Year.

I am delivering my 8th annual report to every house in every village in Lecale this week to explain to you on how I have been representing your views on Down District Council and other agencies. I am the only local councillor to deliver an annual report to every house in Downpatrick.

Here is the electronic version Cadogan Enright Lecale Report January 2014

This newsletter can only be a summary my work for you over the last year. My website provides much more detail – see
 www.enright.ie  or search for ‘Cadogan Enright’ on Facebook where I post or log my activities as a councillor on a weekly basis.

Cllr Cadogan Enright

Annual report to voters and constituents in Downpatrick

Dear Constituent,
I would like to wish you and your families a Happy New Year.

I am delivering my 8th annual report to every house in Downpatrick to explain to you on how I have been representing your views on Down District Council and other agencies. I am the only local councillor to deliver an annual report to every house in Downpatrick.

Here is the electronic version  Cadogan Enright DPK Report January 2014

This newsletter can only be a summary my work for you over the last year. My website provides much more detail – see
 www.enright.ie  or search for ‘Cadogan Enright’ on Facebook where I post or log my activities as a councillor on a weekly basis.

Cllr Cadogan Enright

DOWNPATRICK CONGESTION UPDATE – JANUARY 2014

I campaigned relentlessly last year via the Down Roads committee and the Downpatrick Masterplan working party to have Roads Service to withdraw their assertion that there no serious congestion in the Downpatrick Area. The Roads Service finally came clean, see below, and I got a rare complement from the Down Recorder for my efforts

DPK Report Congestion

25th December – No Christmas present at ASDA

ASDA FOOTPATH CHRISTMAS MADNESS

The attached picture shows the location of the blocked footpath as well as the ‘new’ footpath whose reopening is sought by staff, shopper and the retailers themselves at the shopping complex.

The attached picture shows the location of the blocked footpath as well as the ‘new’ footpath whose reopening is sought by staff, shopper and the retailers themselves at the shopping complex.

Downpatrick Councillor Cadogan Enright has declared himself ‘totally exasperated’ with Belfast Estate Agent Colliers in their failure to respond to both public demand, and to the commercial necessity to open up a pedestrian route into the ADSA complex in Downpatrick in the run up to Christmas.

Cllr Enright said “Following the blocking of the pedestrian entrance to the ASDA shopping complex over 2 years ago, I have had meetings and lengthy correspondence with Belfast estate agent Colliers to open a new path supported by ASDA, MacDonalds and other traders.

“Despite overwhelming public demand to reopen one of these two footpaths onto the site, retail park management are still refusing to budge.

“Rathkelter planning office has indicated that a fee of £249 is all that is required to re-instate a walkway. Planners noted that pedestrians would have to brave far fewer cars with one of these footpaths, as unlike the existing pedestrian crossing, they would not have to stop car access to the ASDA petrol station.

“Staff working in the complex are very annoyed over the on-going situation that sees them scaling the wall daily. The general public are hopping over the blocking wall day and daily where they are fit enough to do so and don’t have buggies or lots of shopping.

I am writing to MLA’s and MP’s to see if they can intervene on this matter, as it is clear that planners, retailers, staff in the retail complex and the population of Downpatrick and District all support the need for this path.

Colliers and the Landlord need to listen to local people whose custom this Christmas underlies the economic success of this retail park.