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Sinn Féin demand change in application of draft planning guidelines

8 June, 2006

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has said that it is totally wrong that planning application processed after March 16th when the Department of Regional Development published its' controversial draft guidelines on rural planning were handled under the draft rules even before the end of the consultation process tomorrow, Friday 9th June.

Ms Gildernew said:

"I think that many people were shocked when Jeff Rooker announced that all planning applications submitted after the publication of his consultation document PPS 14 would be dealt with under the new draft guidelines and that he would not even have common sense to wait until the end of the consultation process on June 9th. This not only leaves planning services open to possible legal challenge that will have to be defended at the tax payers expense but also sends out the very negative message that this is not a genuine consultation process.

"Sinn Féin will be submitting our response to the consultation and we believe that we have found a way forward that both protects the environment and protects rural communities.

"Sinn Féin also believes that we need a radical look at the future of planning services because it is its inconsistent approach to planning that is largely responsible for much of the mess. Within any balanced approach to planning it is essential that planning service is consistent and has a strong role in enforcement and follow-up particularly in relation to issues such as sewerage." ENDS

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