Sinn Féin South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey has briefed local community and residents groups on the effects that the Review of Public Administration (RPA) will have upon their communities and the work that they are involved in and called for a greater debate on the important role of community planning.
Speaking after the meeting Cllr. Alex Maskey MLA said,
"Everybody accepts that the Review of Public Administration, whatever the finalised details are, will have a major effect on local government and community groups, residents groups, and local communities.
"Probably the most important issue in this respect is the subject of 'community planning'. However, there is a real lack of knowledge about the specifics of this. We have met with community and residents groups to explain the potential effects of the RPA.
" Community Planning, in Belfast will be the designing of a grand plan, a community plan, for the city of Belfast.
"This will encompass almost everything that you can imagine from transport to housing, from the environment to community development. One of the real benefits is that there will be an onus on statutory bodies and departments to work with the council. This means that departments will have to work with the council. This is the empowering of local government, the empowering of the local people.
" For Sinn Féin this does not go far enough. We are continuing to argue for a statutory duty on councils to work with local communities and residents. Such a move would put the people the heart of local government and make sure that Community Planning truly represents the needs of the community." ENDS