Speedier planning needed as developers going elsewhere

Gary Middleton. INLS0114-122KM
Gary Middleton. INLS0114-122KM

A Londonderry councillor says he knows developers who have turned their backs on Northern Ireland due to the snail’s pace of the planning process.

DUP Alderman Gary Middleton, however, welcomed Environment Minister Mark H. Durkan’s measures to speed up the system.

“Any action to improve the planning system has to be welcomed,” said Mr Middleton.

“Over the past number of months the DUP have raised serious concerns over the length of time planning applications are in the system and the delay in approved applications being issued.”

Mr Middleton claimed some developers have simply decided they’ve had enough and invested elsewhere.

“I am aware of developers who are simply taking their business elsewhere in the UK due to the length of time it takes to get a planning application passed in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“The proposals to have intense pre-application discussions along with widespread involvement of the community in the discussions should ensure the decisions are taken much quicker,” he added.

He said simplifying planning policy by reducing the current 20 planning publications to one single strategic planning policy represented progress.

“I look forward to seeing these changes put into action and hopefully see a faster, more efficient system which will benefit the whole of NI,” he said.