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Sinn Féin Herald PPS 14 judgement as a victory for Rural Communities

7 September, 2007

Omagh Sinn Féin Councillor Seán Begley has heralded this morning's judgement made in the High Court in Belfast that Direct Rule Minister Lord Rooker was wrong to introduce the restrictive Rural Planning Policy PPS 14 as a victory for Rural Communities and the rural way of life.

Cllr Begley, who was Chairperson of Omagh District Council when he proposed that Omagh and other local councils initiate a judicial review of the decision of British direct rule Minister Lord Rooker to impose PPS14, was in the High Court this morning to hear the decision.

He said,

"The judgement has thrown out PPS14 and said that the then Minister Lord Rooker had no authority to make such a policy decision. This anti-rural dictate not only completely contravened regional development policy and strategy but also ignored contradictory departmental advice and failed in terms of carrying out a proper consultation.

"This is a great victory for rural communities and the preservation of the rural way of life and has exposed the arrogance of the former Direct Rule administration towards the people of the six counties, who at one fell swoop of the pen had imposed what amounted to a permanent moratorium on development in rural areas.

"This decision now clears the path for the Assembly and Executive to put in place a rural planning policy which balances support for the development of vibrant and sustainable communities with environmental sustainability and protection.

"I wish also to praise the supportive role of Strabane, Cookstown, Moyle and Coleraine Councils in standing alongside Omagh in this action and enthusiastically fighting this case tooth and nail and for their part in securing this positive result today." ENDS

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