On April 1 next year the new ‘Derry and Strabane District’ Council will adopt a full range of new functions and powers with its predecessor authorities falling into obsolescence.
The last and outgoing Mayor of Londonderry, Brenda Stevenson, has referred to the historic move in her Christmas message.
She said: “2015 will mark the end of an era as Derry City Council comes to an end at the end of March when it joins up with our neighbours in Strabane to form the new Derry City and Strabane District Council.”
The new Council will have considerable more power than the old Derry City Council and Strabane District Council.
Councillors will have control over local development plan functions and development control and enforcement (planning); off street parking, with the exception of Park and Ride (roads); functions associated with physical development (e.g. environmental improvement schemes), area based regeneration (such as Neighbourhood Renewal), and some community development programmes for the voluntary and community sectors (urban regeneration).
Councillors will also have control over the registration of houses in multiple occupation, housing unfitness responsibilities, including repair and demolition notices (housing); Start a Business Programme and Enterprise Shows, Youth Entrepreneurship (such as Prince’s Trust and Shell Livewire), Social Entrepreneurship, Investing for Women, Neighbourhood Renewal funding relating to enterprises initiatives (local economic development functions transferred from Invest NI); and small scale tourism accommodation development, providing business support including business start up advice along with training and delivery of customer care schemes, and providing advice to developers on tourism policies and related issues (local tourism).
That all happens in the Spring.