West Tyrone Sinn Fein Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

West Tyrone Area Plan (Killyclogher consultation)

Published: 10 January, 2006

GENERAL

  1. Participants highlighted the need to maintain the identity of Killyclogher as an entity separate from Omagh. Fears were expressed that the village identity has been submerged in the urban sprawl of Omagh. It was pointed out that Killyclogher, which, according to the 2001 census has a population approaching 3000 people is not mentioned in the Issues paper - not even on the map! Also, it was proposed that the area should be designated by the WTAP (West Tyrone Area Plan) as a distinct settlement. The community has its own local community infrastructure such as a vibrant GAA club, Church, Parish hierarchy, Youth club, Community hall and Senior Citizens club.

  1. A participant pointed out that the Review of Public Administration proposes to divide Omagh and Strabane Districts and questioned the wisdom of drafting a plan for the entire West Tyrone region, given that it is going to be divided.

  1. It was stated that it may be difficult for the WTAP to accurately reflect land use within Omagh Town without taking account of the future use of lands presently occupied by the British Army at their camp in Lisanelly.

  1. Concern was expressed that we are behind in the area planning process. We are currently operating on an out of date plan and by the time the new one is drafted and adopted we will be well on our way to 2019.

  1. The Area Plan and establishment of zoning, needs to take into consideration changes in housing patterns i.e. less people per household than 10-15 years ago.

  1. Omagh Town Football club lies vacant. A question was raised concerning its ownership and potential for future development.

HOUSING

  1. A contingency should be built into the plan to address housing needs if Omagh becomes designated area under the Review of Public Administration. Omagh is growing rapidly as a regional hub and centre of administration and retail. It was suggested that proposed housing numbers would not be able to accommodate this growth.

  1. There is unused industrial development land locally. E.g. Strathroy but the Regional Development Strategy states there is enough land for this purpose. It was suggested that this could be rezoned for other types of development, such as housing.

  1. Clarification was sought on the allocated housing figure of approx 5,000 and for what period of time (years) this referred to. Some people felt that these figures are not realistic given the number of builds between 1999 and 2004. These figures will inevitability lead to a housing crisis in 10 years time, particularly if we take into consideration that some landowners are unwilling to develop zoned land. It was pointed out that population projections do not adequately take into account anticipated growth of incoming migrant workers. This will be particularly true if Omagh consolidates its position as a regional hub and this will further add to the housing crisis.

  1. The Plan should address the need for affordable housing in the area. Concern was raised that first time buyers can not get on the property ladder and because of this are moving out of the area. This has an effect on the local economy and the vitality of the local area. Housing schemes should have constraints on people making capital gains and there is a need to provide social housing.

GREENBELT

  1. The Sports Centre in Killyclogher is currently built on land zoned for recreation while the adjacent Recycling Centre intrudes quite a bit into the greenbelt. It was pointed out that the greenbelt is not symmetric and should be extended as far as Hawthorn Road. Concerns were expressed over how the greenbelt is set and why planners have allowed it to be eaten into.

  1. Some participants felt that the allocated housing development over the next decade will eat into the greenbelt. It was expressed that areas zoned for housing which have not been developed should be rezoned as greenbelt/open space. It was pointed out by a participant that recently in Fintona there was a u-turn on land which was zoned for industrial development.

PLANNING

  1. A participant suggested that planners should inform people on important issues such as the procedures they must engage in if they wish to have land considered for zoning e.g. for housing. There is also a need for flexibility in the plan to recognise that it is increasingly difficult to secure single houses in rural areas.

  1. It was stated that in some areas, especially some local villages, development has been thwarted due to the fact that owners have no desire to develop their land. The planners should take account of this when drafting the forthcoming WTAP.

  1. In terms of individual planning applications, there is a need for more consultation between planners and clients. It is the view of applicant's that planners have already made up their minds and correspond with agents or councillors rather than the client. The new process carried out at office meetings, is no substitute for on- site meetings and makes it more difficult to consult with planners and argue for refusals to be overturned.

  1. On a general note it was felt that planners were too rigid in their approach and there needs to be a more generous approach to extending village and hamlet boundaries to encourage vitality and accommodate for land which is landlocked and blocked by owners for development.

ROADS

  1. The need for improvement on the Ballygawley to Omagh Road which has seen countless road traffic accidents and deaths over the years was highlighted.

  1. Killyclogher identity - It was proposed that a brick paving scheme or change of texture to the road surface would help to define the Killyclogher boundaries. Village signage was also proposed.

  1. A participant identified the need for a crossing between the car park and the chapel and between the Chapel and Mc Ginn's shop.

  1. Glencam Road was highlighted in the last area plan for improvement. The planners correctly identified it as providing a strategic link between the Gortin and Old Mountfield Roads and that it would require improvements. However, this has not happened as Glencam Road is one of the most dangerous in the district and work on it is not included on this years Roads service programme.

  1. The Old Mountfield Road and footpaths/walkways in Killyclogher are in a poor condition. The plan envisages choice in modes of movement e.g. walking and cycling but pavement and roads are not suitable to promote this.

  1. Farmhill Road - Very dangerous for children walking to use the GAA facility at Ballinamullan. Participants highlighted the need for a pavement spanning the entire length of Farmhill Road, linking the A505 and Drumnakilly road.

  1. Killyclogher 'roundabout' needs to be addressed. It was pointed out that it is not even in the middle of the junction and this cause's extreme difficulty for those travelling along the Old Mountfield road who wish to turn on to the Tirquin road (past the chapel).

  1. The need for extension to footpath, street lights and speed limits on the Tirquin Road was highlighted. Planners and DRD need to make clear their roles in respect of projects such as these.

  1. The junction of Old Mountfield Road and Omagh/Cookstown Road (A505) was identified as particularly dangerous. A participant suggested the construction of a Roundabout or traffic lights as it is very difficult to get on to the A505 from the Old Mountfield Road at certain times.

  1. There is serious traffic congestion in Omagh and Lorries can not get through the town. Also, how can the plan be accurate if it does not take into consideration the need for developing a ring road?

  1. The issue of lack of land being taken up for development was raised, but roads need to be developed to facilitate any development. Planners and Roads service need to work closer together. There appears to exist a lack of forward planning.

OPEN SPACE SPORTS AND RECREATION

  1. It was stated that there is a need to ensure sufficient recreational and leisure facilities for youth, given population projections for the next 20 years. At present, the under 16 population in Killyclogher is approximately 1000 (Census, 2001). It was suggested that there is a need to consider zoning for additional facilities to cater for projected growth. It was felt that there has not been a balance achieved between housing development in Killyclogher and development of youth provision. Additionally, the Leisure centre and Sports centre (located on the A505) are not considered as local youth provision because these facilities service the entire district and are 'blocked booked' by groups (from outside the Killyclogher area) for considerable periods of time.

  1. The need to protect Killyclogher Burn in the new plan was raised. It was pointed out that 4.3 hectares along this burn was identified for its high amenity value in the 1987-2002 plan. It was proposed that this be protected in the new plan and that all other areas of open space and recreation which were identified in the 1987-2002 plan will similarly be protected in the new Area Plan.

  1. It was pointed out that economic development has been vital to the vibrancy and regeneration of Omagh. If present growth continues a housing cap would negatively impact upon such development as housing supply would not be able to keep up with demand i.e. new jobs would attract new people who require housing. Also, if investors identified a lack of housing in the area as a potential problem, they could locate elsewhere.

TOURISM

  1. It was proposed that key attractions are mentioned in the Area Plan i.e. An Creágan Visitors Centre and Dun Uladh, amongst others.

HEALTH

  1. In respect of energy and waste disposal there is great concern by residents in the Farmhill area at the proliferation of rats. Locals have tried to deal with them using poison and Omagh District Council environmental health department has been consulted but the problem still remains. Concern was raised about the negative environmental impact of the Recycling centre on the Killyclogher Road at Farmhill.

  1. The need for a hospital is not identified in the Issues paper. It was proposed that an area be zoned for the longer term given that the population is constantly increasing and will at some stage be at a level which can sustain a hospital. Killyclogher is a deprived area (Multiple Deprivation Measures, Noble, 2005) and it is vital that the plan takes the need for a hospital into consideration.