The Alliance Party has hit out at Planning Service plans to “streamline” the planning system which it said was further evidence that the Department intended to ignore locally accountable views in planning cases.
Newtownabbey Councillor Tom Campbell said:
“The proposals might seem innocuous at first, but what they will do is to steamroll planning applications, without the opportunity for local authorities to properly consider all aspects of a development that will have a permanent and lasting impact on their local areas. Removed is the right of councillors to request a second deferment to allow local consultation, or further discussion between resident and the planners or the developer.
“Time for developers is money, and this decision will be welcomed in particular by large scale developers who have destroyed many local communities in a thirst to build as much into a small space as is legally permissible.”
“Already the law is heavily biased in favour of developers, and the views of local people are very much a secondary consideration. These plans will remove any effective input from local communities, in favour of large developers with the resources to get what they want when they want it.
“The Planning Service has almost overnight gathered for itself the right to ignore local opinion as it has demonstrated it can do in the past. It behaves as a law onto itself and is effectively unaccountable.”