Kieran McCarthy MLA, Alliance Party Chief Whip, has expressed his bemusement at the Department of Environment’s proposal to further limit the ability of local councils to defer planning decisions, as the expectation is that the reform of local government (under the Review of Public Administration) is going to grant further powers to councils on matters of planning.
Kieran McCarthy said:
“I am baffled by the DoE’s proposed changes to the planning system. Why is it pursuing this, when everyone else is expecting local councils to be given full powers over development control, as proposed under the RPA consultation at the moment?
“This would appear to be a classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.
“The Alliance Party has consistently argued for councils to have a greater, not lesser, say in planning decisions. For example, we have campaigned for the provision of third-party appeals to be granted to councils.
“It is important that, as public representatives of local communities, elected councillors have a significant say in the planning of area neighbourhoods. The DoE’s latest proposal is a move in the wrong direction, which I hope will be corrected with developments in the reform of local government.”