A technical glitch which prevented information relating to this month’s Planning Committee going online, resulted in the deferment of the meeting at the Guildhall on Tuesday.
However, when Aldermen and Councillors turned up for the meeting the chairman, Barney O’Hagan, told members he was deferring the day’s business to allow the schedule to be posted on the planning website to allow those interested time to consider the documents to be amended.
A planning officer who attended the meeting said: “It has come to my attention the Planning Schedule for the meeting today due to a technical glitch was not uploaded to the planning website. Our practice is for the public to be able to view the schedule a week before the Council meeting.”
She told the meeting that to allow this to happen it was only fair to allow “a week’s grace” to allow for representations and asked for a deferral.
The DUP’s Maurice Devenney said: “It is unacceptable that no one notice this until I brought it to your attention. When did the planners know this was not on the website? We have had a number of clients come to us about this.”
Mr Devenney said there were issues with time-bound contracts, and described the situation as “worrying”.
The SDLP’s Gerard Diver, said it was “a far from ideal situation”.
“The schedule should be on their website. It is an opportunity for people to engage. I know the Minister will be amenable to any discussions.
The planning officer who attended the meeting, said that when the matter was brought to their attention it was rectified.
“The schedule is up on the Web and available for viewing. In terms of time sensitive funding applications, I am not aware of any of them being funding related.”
Responsing, the SDLP’s Thomas Conway said two items were being funded by Derry City Council, and were time bound funded.
He said: “I know that the contractors are waiting for the Green Form and I was going to ask planning to issue the Green Form today.”
Deferring the meeting the chairman told members the next convenient date to hold the Planning Committee would be on Tuesday, September 17.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Devenney said that he had checked the website, and was concerned to find that the schedule was still not posted.
“There is a duty of care to the community to ensure that this kind of information is readily available for scrutiny. It is apparent that neither the chairman of the planning committee or the planning officer seem to know about this,” he said.