Planning Fee increase will damage rural communities
Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson, South Down MLA Willie Clarke has said that the increases in the cost of processing planning applications will particularly damage rural communities.
Mr Clarke said:
"The way that the planning service is operating at the moment is creating huge difficulties. They are long delays and particularly in rural areas there is widespread concern at the impact of current policy of maintaining viable rural communities.
"Sinn Féin these increases will make it even more difficult for rural communities to survive and thrive.
"Sinn Féin have repeatedly called for rural families to be treated more sympathetically by planners and have voiced concerns at the impact of the draft area plans will have in holding back rural development.
"At present rural communities are being decimated, the populace is no longer being allowed to live on the land due to the restrictions that have been placed on single dwellings in the countryside. Genuine families are being punished because of multi applications of greedy property speculators. Provision must be made for people who want to live in the countryside.
"Rural community plans have to be put in place where the community decides what it requires and needs developed in partnership with all the statuary agencies. If single dwellings are to be restricted, then we must provide the development of sympathetic hamlets, along with all the necessary services. The people's voices must be heard if we are to halt the demise of sustainable rural communities.
"These inflation busting increases will further damage rural communities in particular." ENDS