Things are progressing well with the development of the Lough Neagh Heritage Lottery Landscape Partnership Proposal. Four formal consultation events were held around the four corners of the Lough in November of last year and feedback was very enthusiastic with new and exciting heritage projects identified. These have all been fed into the potential integrated list of projects associated with the proposal. However, it is important to ensure that the overall vision and whole landscape heritage view of the lough is not lost and as such the Lough Neagh Landscape Development Officer is now in the process of trying to pull together all of the heritage aspects that make Lough Neagh different, significant and special and tie them within the context of a full detailed Landscape Conservation Action Plan.
A mid term review of the proposal was carried out by the Heritage Lottery Fund in early January and feedback was positive but there is lots of work still to do before the final round two full landscape application is submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is anticipated that this will be done by Aug 2015 and if the Heritage Lottery Fund are satisfied with the overall landscape proposal, then it would be anticipated that the £3 million programme could start in spring 2016. In the meantime consultation and community engagement continues and the Landscape Development Officer Gerry Darby, is still keen to hear from community organisations or heritage groups around the shores of the Lough that may still have a Lough Neagh heritage project they have always wished to develop. This could be a natural, built or cultural heritage type project. Contact Chie on 028 79417941 to register an interest or e mail your ideas or thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
WORK ON MAJOR LOUGH NEAGH LANDSCAPE ACTION PLAN COMMENCES
New team will be looking for community help to secure £2.58 million investment in Lough Neagh
Staff have been recruited by the Lough Neagh Partnership to commence the task of developing a major Conservation Action Plan for the whole of Lough Neagh. In October 2013, the Partnership was allocated £2.58m in funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) following a successful first round application to the HLF Landscape Partnership grant programme. To secure the funding a full detailed Landscape Conservation Action Plan needs to be developed.
Gerry Darby, who has a strong background in landscape management work on the Lough, together with Chi McGuckin who comes with extensive financial management experience, have been tasked with drawing up and providing HLF with the new detailed integrated landscape action plan.
The plan will take over 16 months to work up and will entail undertaking a full landscape character assessment of the Lough, developing an agreed vision through community consultation, identifying individual heritage projects, firming up partnership agreements, and creating a management system to oversee the ambitious project. It is anticipated than on the submission of the plan in 2015 that the allocated £2.58 million of HLF investment will be rolled out over the subsequent five years.
Paul Mullan, Head of HLF Northern Ireland, added their support:
“HLF was delighted to award the initial Landscape Partnership grant offer to the Lough Neagh Partnership and we are keen to see the detail of the project emerge over the coming months. Landscape Conservation Action Plans are critical plans for the protection, enjoyment and sustainable management of our precious landscapes. We wish the new Lough Neagh team every success and are pleased to be able to support their work via the development grant of £84,200 but also by offering the experience of the whole HLF team.”
The chairman of the Lough Neagh Partnership, Shane O Neill, also recognised the importance of the new development:
“This new Landscape Conservation Action Plan is an important new step in the revitalisation of Lough Neagh. It is important that the plan has a strong local and community input and the development process will genuinely allow local communities have a say in defining what they think are the landscape conservation needs of the Lough.”
A number of partners including the local Councils, RSPB, NIEA, the River Bann and Lough Neagh Association and the University of Ulster have already indicated strong support for the landscape proposal and will be working closely with the new team to work up the new plan.