The Planning Department of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is set to move from its long-term base at Marlborough House, Craigavon to new premises in Banbridge on Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 September.
The relocation, which forms an integral part of the Council’s accommodation strategy, will see the majority of Planning staff deliver frontline services from newly refurbished premises at Bridgewater House on the Castlewellan Road from Thursday 21 September. The Bridgewater House premises were acquired by Council in 2015 and from an asset perspective provide savings in the longer term as the lease in Marlborough House will now no longer be required.
In addition, a small number of Planning staff with responsibility for creating the borough’s first Local Development Plan will be located at temporary premises in Newry Street.
The decision to deliver the newly transferred function of Planning from Banbridge was taken by the Shadow Council in 2014 when it was also agreed that the Palace Demesne, Armagh would be the Mayoral headquarters, retaining its Lord Mayoralty status and Craigavon Civic and Conference Centre would be the main location for the Council Chamber and conducting full Council business.
Outlining some of the main benefits resulting from the relocation, Strategic Director – Position Sharon O’Gorman, said, “In developing an accommodation strategy for the organisation, the primary aim was to achieve greater synergy, efficiency and opportunity for collaboration across services by allocating services in a way which are complimentary to each other.
The relocation of the Planning function to Banbridge supports an earlier decision made by the Shadow Council and will mean that Planning staff are now located in the same area where Planning Committees are held.
The relocation of the Planning function also provides an opportunity for greater integration of the Planning function with other Council services located in the Banbridge area.
The service in its new location will continue to be accessible for the public and will also bring a positive economic contribution to Banbridge by bringing additional jobs and footfall to the area.”
Bridgewater House will be open to the public on weekdays from 9.30am to 4.30pm except for Thursdays when it will open at the later time of 10.30am.