Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Planning development plans do not add up

15 March, 2006

Commenting on the announcement of the new planning legislation being enacted, Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson, North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan has said that reform must not equate to removing all local input into planning issues.

Mr McGuigan said:

"I think we are all agreed that the planning service needs overhauled. The purpose of this should be to make its decisions more transparent, understandable and more accountable.

"What we don't need is a planning bureaucracy, were the opinion of local people and their elected representatives are discarded.

"The aspiration expressed by Jeff Rooker about local involvement in development plans does not equate with the reality of the planning process at present.

"Recent experiences of the imposition of flawed area plans in the North and changes that forbid site meetings have left a bad taste in people's mouths.

"This is particularly true in the case of rural planning. It seems that the department is intent on making rural planning extremely difficult if not impossible. I understand entirely the need to protect our rural environment but this can and should be compatible with protecting our rural way of life." ENDS

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