Proposal to re-deploy Planning Staff ill-conceived-Doherty
Tyrone MLA Pat Doherty has described proposals by Environment Minister Edwin Poots to redeploy 269 posts within the Planning Service as an ill-conceived move.
It is highly unlikely that there is current capacity within the Planning Service to accommodate the redeployment of such a large number of staff and that under the Ministers proposals we could be looking at the loss of jobs of a large number of highly qualified planning staff.
If this proposal is allowed to proceed, it will have extremely detrimental consequences. While there is currently a shortfall in planning application receipts, there has been little or no reduction in the workload of planning staff. If for example staff are redeployed away from the local Omagh office applicants will be faced with increased delays in the planning process. I am also deeply concerned that it would staff at Planning Offices like Omagh who would be disproportionately affected by these redeployment proposals.
An efficient planning process is also crucial to ensuring that we emerge from the current economic downturn and this ill-conceived proposal is a false economy as it aims to make short terms budgetary savings at the expense of ensuring that we have a Planning Service fit for purpose as a vehicle to expedite economic recovery.
I have now written to Environment Minister Edwin Poots and Finance Minister Sammy Wilson outlining my deep concern about these proposals and calling upon them to reconsider what I believe to be a flawed approach on this issue.