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‘Disappointed’ Belfast City Council to seek urgent meeting with DSD Minister

26 Nov 2015
Belfast City Council is to seek an urgent meeting with the Social Development Minister following today’s decision to indefinitely delay the transfer of regeneration powers to local government.

It is the second time there has been a delay – the original transfer was delayed from 1 April 2015 to 1 April 2016 – and the council is concerned that this time it is indefinite, with no clarity as to whether the powers will ever be handed over to local authorities.

The chairman of the council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee Declan Boyle said: “We understand there has been some unresolved policy issues in relation to matters at Stormont and that a restructuring of central government departments is now underway.

“We will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister to ensure that this is not shelved indefinitely, that this decision is urgently reviewed and that a decision to transfer these powers on an agreed date is confirmed. We wish to express our disappointment and frustration and seek assurances from the Minister in relation to our major investment, development and regeneration plans for Belfast. 

“This will impact on our ability to further develop and reinvigorate local neighbourhoods, support investment in the city centre, which will grow our economy, create jobs and prosperity and improve quality of life for our citizens.

“There is a clear trend everywhere else across these islands to devolve more powers and responsibilities to local government, particularly city regions. Now, having spent huge amounts of money and time on LGR developing proposals, a decision has been taken which is at odds with what the Government set out to achieve in terms of enabling councils to take local decisions to address local need.”

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