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Community Engagement: Let us know what your community group or organisation is doing to support people in the community - click here.

Updated 2 April 2020 9.40am

As we respond to coronavirus (COVID-19), we are streamlining our resources to prioritise delivery of essential services.

It has been agreed that following facilities will remain open to the public:

  • Parks (with the execption of Island Hill, Comber; Kiltonga, Newtownards and all play park facilities). When visiting our open spaces for daily exercise, please adhere to current government guidance.


The Council has agreed the closure of the following buildings and facilities to the public until further notice:

  • Arts Centre, Newtownards
  • Cemeteries 
  • Community Centres / Halls (including the Queen’s Hall Billiards Club)
  • Council Offices
  • Environmental Resource Centre, Bangor
  • Harbours
  • Household Recycling Centres 
  • North Down Museum
  • North Road Depot, Newtownards
  • Leisure centres
  • Playgrounds (where it is not physically possible to close the playground by locking a gate, signage will be put in place)
  • Public toilets
  • Signal Centre
  • Sports pitches / facilities and pavilions
  • Town Hall Bangor
  • Visitor Information Centres 

We are very much aware of the concerns around coronavirus (Covid-19) and will continue to communicate regularly as the situation develops. The health and safety of customers and employees is our number one priority.  We recognise the important role that both our teams and our customers have in keeping healthy.   

We would ask: 

 • Please do not come to Council facilities if you are unwell (symptoms including shortness of breath, a new persistent cough, sore throat, or fever (temperature above 38˚C)). 

 • Keep your hands clean, wash regularly and thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water 

 • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch all coughs and sneezes and then bin the tissue – then wash your hands with soap and water, or use a sanitiser 

We ask anyone who is concerned that they may have encountered the virus to follow the Government advice and self-isolate in the first instance. You can find the latest advice for Northern Ireland online here 

Business Continuity Plan

We continue to work on our business continuity plan to help us provide services to residents in our Borough during these difficult times. As much as possible, we will keep you updated on this website and on our social media channels.

Information about provision of services is below.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Information about council services during the COVID19 pandemic

Bin Collections and Bulky Collections

Currently household collections of bins is continuing as planned. Changes to the bin collection rota may become necessary depending upon staff availability. 

With many people now working from home we are aware that there are likely to be more cars parked in and around all our residential streets.

Please park as responsibly as possible to allow our vehicles to access your streets and help us deliver this important front line service.

Any changes to these service arrangements will be communicated via the council website, Facebook and Twitter. Please download the Binovation app to check how to correctly sort/recycle your waste.

From Thursday 19 March, bookings for special household collections will no longer be accepted. Existing requests will be honoured as far as possible. 

Please read instructions re: waste disposal and cleaning guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus (COVID-19) here

Building Control

Building Control Inspections during the Covid – 19 outbreak. (updated 24.03.20)

Due to the current restrictions on movement the Council's building control service will be reduced.

No inspections will take place until further notice, however as required by legislation all inspections still need to be notified to the Building Control service. We would ask that you email the office on buildingcontrol@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk with inspection requests and any photographs that you can provide, along with you name and contact telephone number.

The online application system will continue to receive applications as far as possible.
This situation will be kept under review and may change.

Property Certificates
Due to difficulties in processing post currently we would encourage any Property Certificate applications to be made online, this will allow processing to take place. Please be aware that turn around will be dependant on many departments within Council and some may not be completed until normal service resumes. If you have any queries in relation to making online Property Certificate application please contact karen.neill@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk 

Thank you for your understanding at this time

Burials

To protect the integrity of the burial service over the coming weeks and months, we are implementing a number of measures.

These include: 
- restricting the number people attending funeral grave side services to 10 mourners only.
- ensuring ‘social distancing’ measures of two metres in line with public health advice.
- limiting the duration of grave side services to 15 minutes.

We recommend not to shake hands to prevent the spread of Covid-19. We are aware that shaking hands is a widely accepted practice however, by avoiding unnecessary contact we can, collectively, do our best to reduce the spread of this virus. 

To protect our cemetery staff, additional protective equipment has been issued. This includes face masks, glasses and gloves.  

Business support

Council wants to support local businesses through this very challenging period as much as possible.  Officers are collating information, advice and guidance, which can be accessed on our business website.  Please follow the link - AND Business.  

Our Economic Development team are available to talk to any business with specifics queries.  Please contact (028) 9147 3788.  

Please also take a look at our Environmental Health Link below for the latest health and safety advice in for businesses.   

Cash handling

All cash handling will cease and any transactions must be carried out electronically via phone or post.

Cemeteries

In line with emergency legislation, we have been required to close our cemeteries to members of the public with immediate effect and until further notice.

Access is only permitted for funerals/burials. 

Tending to graves or memorials at cemeteries is not permitted under the The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020.

Council staff will continue to manage the maintenance of the cemetery grounds. 

Closure applies to:

Redburn
Priory
Clandeboye
Bangor New
Movilla
Comber
Loughview
Ballyvester
Whitechurch
Kirkistown
Kircubbin
Greyabbey
 

Vehicle access is closed with the exception of a hearse for funerals and vehicles carrying a maximum of ten immediate family members.

We appreciate this will cause disruption and distress but the government legislation has been introduced in order to protect residents from the risks associated with coronavirus at this time.  

It is important not to breach any fences, closed gates, sectioned off areas and closed facilities as listed above.

Your health and safety are paramount, and we appreciate your continued support.

Committee Meetings

All Standing Committee (excluding Planning) and Council meetings are cancelled indefinitely.

Community Centres and Halls

In line with the decision to close Council-owned buildings and facilities in light of the current situation re: COVID19, please note that our community centres are now closed to the public until further notice.

If you currently have a booking with any of our Community Centres, unfortunately this has now been cancelled. Our staff are currently working through the bookings (in date order) and will be in touch with regards to issuing refunds. Thank you for your patience at this time.

Community Support

Our teams are currently working with a number of community support services to ensure the vulnerable within our communities are supported at this time. 

A Directory of Services has been set up and is being updated regularly as we get more information: www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/about-the-council/directory-of-services

Department for Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA has announced that a new weekly service will commence which will see 10,000 food boxes being delivered to the most vulnerable in society during the COVID-19 lockdown.

More information can be found at: https://bit.ly/34gJEKb

PLEASE HELP US ENSURE EVERYBODY WHO QUALIFIES FOR THIS ASSISTANCE IS REGISTERED.

Please do not contact Council, but instead:
Telephone: 0808 802 0020 9am-5pm 7 days a week
Email: covid19@adviceni.net
Text: ACTION to 81025
 

Environmental Health

Health and Safety for Businesses during the Coronavirus/COVID19 Outbreak

Risk Assessments

If you employ people then you should review your risk assessments based on the most up to date information provided by the Public Health Agency (PHA) and take appropriate action.

To help your business work through this follow the link to our advice page below:

Risk Assessment Advice for Businesses during C-19

Remember: a risk assessment is only effective if you and your staff act on it. You must follow through with any actions required and review it on a regular basis.

 

Advice for Temporary Food Delivery or Collection Services 

We are aware that several small catering businesses across the borough have started offering delivery services in light of the Covid-19 outbreak. 

To help your business do this safely and successfully please follow the link to our advice page.  

Advice for Food Businesses

Please contact the Environmental Health team if you have any questions: 

E: foodenquiries@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk  

Please include a phone number so that a member of the team can give you a call back. 

Events

All Council-run events currently scheduled between now and 30 June are cancelled. All events organised by outside agencies on Council land are also cancelled until 30 June 2020. 

Harbours

Due to the Coronavirus, COVID-19, the following harbours under the authority of Ards and North Down Borough Council are closed until further notice.

Bangor Marina, Groomsport Harbour, Donaghadee Harbour, Ballywalter Harbour, Ballyhalbert Harbour and Cook Street Pier.

No vessel other than commercial vessels shall remain in the water during this period, all other vessels should remain on the hard standing, until the pandemic has passed.

This is in line with the Prime Ministers statement i.e. no unnecessary travel.

Thank you all for your co-operation with this, in the meantime stay in and stay safe.

Health Guidance

Please follow the current public health guidance on the Public Health Agency Website. Please continue to look out for family, friends and neighbours who are vulnerable.

Home visits

Only home visits deemed essential should be carried out and are subject to a pre-screening phone call in relation to householders in the home.

Household Recycling Centres

All household recycling centres in Ards and North Down (and in Northern Ireland) are currently closed. 

The closures are to allow critical resources to be focussed on kerbside collections; to prevent members of the public from making unnecessary journeys as per Government advice and to ensure social distancing measures are observed.

If you are spring cleaning or clearing out your house or garage, then separate the waste for recycling, store securely and keep the materials dry.  We will advise you when our HRC are open again - this may be some time.  

Green garden waste can be composted at home, if you have space, alternatively, cut your grass and hedges as infrequently as possible.

Updated 02.04.20

Leisure Memberships

Due to the closure of our leisure facilities all memberships will now be suspended.  You don’t need to do anything as no money will be debited during this period. Please visit the Leisure website and Facebook page for information and updates.

Licensing

Licensing Services offices are closed until further notice.

If you are enquiring about the renewal of a licence please email: david.brown@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk.

Licensees should be aware that if their current licence (Entertainment, Marriage Place Approval or Street Trading) is due for renewal they must send an email to the above address before the expiry date of their current licence. This will ensure that they will be able to continue to provide services covered by their licence once this crisis has ended.

All the other licence renewal requirements (fee, advertising, certification and insurance) will not be required at this time but will need to be provided within three months from the end of this crisis.

We will keep you informed as the situation changes.

Planning

Due to the current Covid-19 outbreak the Planning Office will be closed to the public until further notice.

However, planning services continue to operate in terms of application submissions, and processing and issuing.

We cannot, however, at present facilitate any office-based duty planner appointments, file viewings, or register viewings.

Should you require assistance, please:

email: planning@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk

Telephone: 028 9182 4006 between 9am and 3pm and we will endeavour to assist you with your query as far as practicable.

Recruitment

All recruitment exercises have been postponed. Thank you for the interest you have shown in our vacancies. All completed applications will be kept on our records and the HR department will be in touch in due course. 

Registrations of births, deaths and marriages

Following the strict new measures introduced by UK Government on Monday 23 March 2020, including the advice to ‘STAY AT HOME’ the Registration Services offered at Ards and North Down Borough Council offices must now be severely restricted.

Registration of Births

Birth registration services are suspended from Tuesday 24 March until further notice.

Note:  During this exceptional period, parents will not be penalised if the birth has not been registered within the required 42 day period.

Parents can continue to enrol their child at a GP Practice during the suspension of this process. They will be required to supply the following information when they contact the Surgery;

* Child’s Health & Care Number (Issued by the hospital at birth)

* Full Name the child is to be registered as

* Home Address the child will be residing at

Child Benefit

Your midwife will provide you with Form CHS1 when your baby is born.  If you have been unable to register your child’s birth due to Coronavirus and wish to claim child benefit,  please submit Form CHS1 along with your child benefit application form to the Child Benefit Office.  Please retain a copy of this form as it will be required when you register your baby.

Marriages and Civil Partnerships

There will be no civil marriage or civil partnership ceremonies within the district until further notice.  We will not be taking further bookings at this time.

To cancel or postpone your wedding please email registration1@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk with your name, mobile number and date and place of marriage and we will respond to you in due course.

New applications for Religious or Humanist marriages will only be accepted by post.  We are happy to accept photocopies of passports and other legal documents on the proviso that the originals are seen when collecting the Marriage Schedule.  We will contact you to pay the £44 fee over the phone, so please be sure to provide your phone number.

Death Registrations

From Friday 27 March 2020 (including Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday) the doctor will send the death certificate by email to the General Registrar’s Office. The Registrar will then contact the next of kin or their funeral director and the death will be registered by phone. There will be no need to attend your local Registrar's office.

If you have any issues please contact your undertaker or the Registrar on 028 9127 8003.

Working with local funeral directors, non-essential administration services for the public have been temporarily suspended. These include grave record searches, advance sale of graves and depth tests.