DUNGANNON and South Tyrone Borough Council is reviewing the potential for Dungannon to become the civic administrative capital of the new Mid-Ulster ‘super council’.
A draft position paper presented on 11th November outlined how a civic presence could capitalise on existing resources and maximise the competitiveness of the whole Mid-Ulster region, which will also take in the Cookstown and Magherafelt council districts.
The paper sets out four critical areas where existing strengths can drive the region forward: Civic Presence; Spatial Analysis & Competitive Advantage; Urban First Planning; and Access & Efficiencies.
In particular, it acknowledges Dungannon’s strong strategic positioning within the new cluster area –equidistant between the furthest boundaries of Maghera and Fivemiletown – and highlighted existing linkages to the strategic economic corridor, strategic transport corridor and other central administrative hubs.
The Council also heard that the recently refurbished Ranfurly House civic building could accommodate a chamber-style structure that provides for more than 50 members, staff, press and public with complementary rooms suitable for pre-meetings and briefings
Members of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council stated: “The fact is that change is coming and we must consider how the new council structure can best capitalise on the resources available in each area.
“It is important that urban hubs, in particular, can be maximised to drive growth in this region and Dungannon is already a major gateway with strength in the administration sector. The town has clear potential for further strategic expansion which can optimise the performance and delivery of services for everyone in the Mid-Ulster region including those in rural areas.
“Dungannon provides a central, modern and easy accessed location for members across Mid-Ulster. There is undoubted potential for the town to be the capital for civic decision making and in a way that would not incur additional build costs to the rate payer. We’re ready to begin the discussion on how this area can make a serious and meaningful contribution to the cluster region.”
The draft position paper also identified opportunities for the Mid-Ulster region to gain from Dungannon’s diverse and increasing population and strong industrial base with particular reference to its young workforce and manufacturing and engineering excellence.
Like all 26 councils in Northern Ireland, Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council is proactively preparing for the major changes due to be introduced through the long-awaited Review of Public Administration. These changes will see the Council merge with Cookstown and Magherafelt District Councils from May 2015.