Morgan condemns hike in fees for planning objections
Sinn Fein spokesperson on the Environment Deputy Arthur Morgan speaking today following the news from An Bord Pleanala that they are to hike the charges applicable to making objections to planning applications condemned the charges as "undemocratic."
The Louth TD said, "An Bord Pleanala have imposed a new fee structure on developers and construction firms who wish to make planning applications under the new fast-track planning procedure for 'strategic infrastructure'. While it is only fair that the private sector have to pay to apply for construction of projects that they will usually make immeasurable amounts of money from, it is completely arbitrary that the fees for objections to planning applications made by ordinary non-construction sector people are being raised simultaneously.
"In 2000, during the debate on the Planning and Development Bill, then Green Party leader Trevor Sargent said that imposing charges on submitting objections was undemocratic and furthermore said it would turn an 'opportunity to comment into a privilege' due to the finances involved.
"Now in 2007, there is a Green Party Minister presiding over a system that is making further increases to planning objection fees - the very system that they objected to in 2000.
"Sinn Fein is calling for the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government John Gormley to intervene in this situation to ensure that planning processes in this state are democratic in that they are available to everyone regardless of their financial situation and commit An Bord Pleanala to disposing of their discriminatory fee system for lodging objections." ENDS