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PPS14 has failed to understand the needs of rural communities

21 May, 2007

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Planning, Newry Armagh MLA Cathal Boylan said that 'PPS14 has failed to understand the needs of rural communities'.

Speaking at Stormont today Mr Boylan said:

"The problem of a backlog in planning applications, this difficulty has stemmed in part from the introduction of PPS14 and the subsequent panic and increase in the number of new applications between December 2005 and March 16th 2006. This has doubled the workload of planning staff, putting the service under severe pressure.

"For example in Craigavon which covers Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon, Newry and Mourne districts there where 5753 applications outstanding taking on average 52 weeks to process in a service which originally took 12 weeks.

"Since the introduction on the 16th march 2006 of pps14 by April, there was 10% loss in staff in Craigavon, mostly to the private sector.

"This policy has been ill thought out and has failed to understand the needs of rural communities. It ignores the traditional rural settlement pattern and has failed to understand the social and cultural traditions, such as rural communities' sense of identity, kinship and close family connections.

"There is a clear attempt to try and impose a British model of rural living onto rural communities living in Ireland where the nature, history and structure of rural communities are very different. Rural communities throughout England, Scotland and Wales have been seriously damaged by the implementation of a policy to force rural people to live in urban centres, resulting in most services to villages becoming unsustainable and ultimately leading to their closure." ENDS

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