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Planning service establish a ‘Backlog Team’

17 May, 2007

Newry and Armagh Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Boylan has given a guarded welcome to the confirmation from Planning Service that a Divisional Support Team to provide assistance in dealing with development control workload pressures and in particular the 'backlog' in planning applications already in the system has been established.

Mr Boylan said:

"We have been hearing the same excuses from Senior Planning Service Officials for quite some time, and I hope that this new Support team will help get some stability and confidence back.

"While I want to give this a guarded welcome there are many who have to be convinced that the service is not in meltdown.

"The time being taken for applications at present is not acceptable.

"Planning Service need to critically examine existing practices within Divisions so that further changes needed to assist in reducing backlogs can be rolled out.

"It is also essential that there is regular monitoring to ensure the effectiveness of the Support Team. The amount of time taken to process applications is of major concern particularly in the Armagh and the Newry and Mourne District and there is also an major major issue about the lack of consistency of approach to planning applications by the Planning Service.

"It is essential that full and effective staffing and resources were made available to the Planning Service and their Officers. Support for staff and all resources required are essential." ENDS

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