New NW council will run in tandem with old and will have key powers

THE new Derry City and Strabane District Council will run in tandem with pre-existing Londonderry and Strabane local authorities from mid 2014 until April 1, 2015, and will be entrusted with a range of powers including those of striking rates and naming the new body.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood revealed the ‘Shadow Councils’ will have powers during this period including striking of the rate for 2015/16; agreeing a budget for the new councils; deciding upon the name and status of the new councils; and agreeing key documents such as the Corporate and Business Plan of the new councils.

He stated: “During the shadow period, the new councils will take the key decisions necessary to ensure their establishment and effective operation from the beginning of the 2015/16 financial year.”

He said it was anticipated that, with the Secretary of State’s agreement, elections to the new councils will take place in mid-2014.

“Following the election of the new councillors, the eleven new councils will operate in shadow form until 1 April 2015, when they will adopt their full range of functions and powers,” he advised.

He also stated: “Primary powers in relation to shadow arrangements will be included in the Local Government (Reorganisation) Bill. Subordinate legislation will provide for the role of the new councils during the shadow period.

“Both the Bill and the subordinate legislation will be presented to the Assembly for scrutiny in due course.”