Alliance MLA Sean Neeson proposed a motion (below) on planning at the Annual Party Conference at the Dunadry Hotel on Saturday. It was overwhelmingly passed, and I have included an extract from his speech below.
Motion 5: Environment (Planning)
·Conference notes the increased public concern at the number of contentious planning decisions, in particular those that encroach onto ‘greenbelts’ and those that involve the destruction of historic or architecturally significant buildings.
·Conference calls for clear targets for brown-field development within Area Plans, for the enforcement of existing and the creation of new Conservation Areas.
·Conference further calls for Councils to be granted the power to initiate ‘third party appeals’.
Proposer, Sean Neeson, said:
“I am deeply concerned about the number of old properties throughout Northern Ireland, particularly those with a sea view that are being demolished to make way for apartment developments.
I am deeply disappointed that these applications have had the approval of the Planning Service, despite numerous protests from elected representatives and local residents.
The Government must introduce legislation as quickly as possible that allows the spot-listing of old buildings under threat from developers and we have seen many cases in recent years where developers have moved in to demolish such properties before they can become formally listed by the Department.
The issue of development on brown-field sites must not only be addressed in Belfast, but in other urban centres throughout Northern Ireland.”