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Community planning work has been torpedoed by DUP/Sinn Fein U-turn on regeneration powers

  • DUP/Sinn Fein U-turn on transfer of important local government powers to councils has dashed expectations
  • Their decision reneges on central component of local government reform package
  • Exposes double-speak of their elected representatives

The Ulster Unionist Councillors` Association met in the Royal Hotel, Cookstown on Saturday where Ulster Unionist Councillors expressed their anger and disappointment at another U-turn from the DUP/Sinn Fein Executive, which has effectively torpedoed two and half years of community planning work.

Following the meeting, Cllr Trevor Wilson, Chair of the Ulster Unionist Councillors’ Association, said:

“The decision not to transfer regeneration powers will cause bitter resentment across local government.  We were expecting regeneration and community development to be devolved when the new Councils went live in April last year.  We have had delay upon delay, and now a decision has been taken to renege upon what was meant to be a central tenet of local government reform.  It is democratically accountable local Councils who are best placed to deliver on the ground, not Stormont Departments.

“It seems clear to me that the DUP/Sinn Fein coalition at Stormont have a ‘what we have we hold’ attitude and cannot abide giving up power.  The whole process of community planning, which was meant to be the flagship policy of local government, has been torpedoed by the DUP/Sinn Fein Executive.  The decision exposes the double-speak from some of their elected representatives. They are all over the place on it. Two and a half years of community planning work has been undertaken by the new Councils, expectations have been raised and now this. Has the Minister no trust in local government’s ability to deliver regeneration and community development?”

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