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Warning of planning chaos

25 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Planning, Newry Armagh MLA Cathal Boylan has called for a clear plan of action to ensure that there is no crisis in planning system after Environment Minister Arlene Foster re-introduced PPS 14 on the same day that the decision of British direct rule Regional Development Minister Jeff Rooker to introduce PPS 14 was successfully overturned by a Belfast High Court.

Mr Boylan said:

"All of the parties who are in the Executive also worked together on the Programme for Government committee before the restoration of the institutions. Every party agreed to a consensus report on rural planning that rejected PPS 14 and also said that the previous planning guidelines were not fit for purpose.

"It is disappointing to hear various politicians now saying that they want to return us to the pre-PPS14 days; to planning backlog and ineffective planning. No-one should promote a planning free for all or even hope that we come to situation where planning service is into chaos.

"The development of a new policy to replace the flawed PPS 14 must not be overwhelmed by crisis in the planning system. We need to ensure that there is a well thought through plan of action to take us forward.

"PPS 14 was a disastrous attempt to deal with fundamental problems within the old planning guidelines that would have destroyed the long-term sustainability of our rural communities.

"Sinn Féin believe there is a way to support sustainable rural communities and protect the environment based on local need and planning partnership and rigorous environmental standards." ENDS

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