Press Release

Committees Concerned for Retail Planning in Border Areas

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Monday, 08 October 2012

Reference: ENV 06/12/13

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for the Environment and the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht co-hosted an event in Enniskillen on the difficulties faced in planning issues, especially the impact of planning guidelines on town centres in border areas.

Following the event, Chairperson of the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for the Environment, Anna Lo MLA, said: “This event was an excellent opportunity for both Committees to discuss planning issues with business organisations, retail and town planning experts and representatives from border areas. In particular, we looked at the impact of town planning guidelines on town centres.

“In the course of a very positive and constructive discussion, the Committees were informed about the implications of planning guidelines and decisions on border towns and regions.  Many issues came to light, and the Committees are concerned about the complexities that are involved.  However, there were a number of recommendations and suggestions made from experts and stakeholders alike; furthermore, there seem to be many opportunities for both jurisdictions to learn from each other.

“I will be recommending to my Committee that we look more closely at the recommendations from the event and assess what needs to be done to improve the prospects of all our town centres as well as those in border areas. I will also be recommending for the Committee to examine whether there is scope for our jurisdictions to work together.  This will help to identify solutions for both jurisdictions in order to help our border towns remain viable and provide vibrant places for people to live and conduct their business.

“I am confident that the organisations represented at the meeting, in particular those organisations from the business sector, will also work together to bring forward proposals to both Committees to help address the issues raised.”

Notes to Editors:

The co-hosted event was held on Thursday, 4th October 2012 at the Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.  Delegates heard from retail and town planning experts, Dr Karise Hutchinson and Dr Donna McGuinness who addressed a number of issues including the principles of good urban development.

Representatives from the Planning Service in Northern Ireland, the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government in the Republic of Ireland, the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association, the Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation, the Town Centre Managers’ Forum and Retail Excellence Ireland also addressed and participated in the discussion.

MLAs, MPs, Senators and TDs from border constituencies and representatives of local authorities along the border also attended and contributed to the discussion.


Committee Membership:

Ms Anna Lo MLA (Chairperson)
Mr Simon Hamilton MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Cathal Boylan MLA
Mr Gregory Campbell MLA
Mr Colum Eastwood MLA
Mr Tom Elliott MLA
Mr Dolores Kelly MLA
Mr Barry McElduff MLA
Mr Francie Molloy MLA
Lord Morrow MLA
Mr Peter Weir MLA

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