DARD Chair Meets Minister on Planning Policy

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 29 September 2009

Reference: AGR 03/09/10

The Chair to the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Ian Paisley Jnr and the Deputy Chair, Mr Tom Elliott, updated the Committee on a meeting held with the Minister of the Environment, Mr Edwin Poots.

“There is a great deal of concern about how PPS 21, which is the policy for building new homes in rural areas, is being interpreted, particularly around the definition of off-farm building clusters,” Mr Paisley said.

“Minister Poots was very receptive to the concerns that we put forward and has stated that he will issue a guidance note to remove this ambiguity. He also advised us that approval has now been provided for approximately 2,000 new rural homes. This is fantastic news and is a real boast to maintaining the social fabric of rural communities.”

The Minister also indicated that the policy continues to be reviewed on a regular basis. Mr Elliott stated: “The Minister is keen to hear from the Committee of any other examples where there is possible confusion over interpretation and we will be forwarding these to him soon. Planning is a very contentious issue in rural areas and the sooner we can work collectively to clarify the policy, the better the policy will be for rural communities.”

ENDS

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