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Committee Seeks Withdrawal of Planning Guidance Pending Appropriate Consultation with Stakeholders

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 13 October 2021

Reference: CfI 01/21/22

The Committee for Infrastructure today received a briefing from the Chief Planning Officer and officials from the Department for Infrastructure. The Committee questioned officials about their issue of a Planning Advice Note, which provided a ‘clarification’ of guidance to Councils on planning in the countryside.

Chairperson of the Committee Jonathan Buckley MLA, said: “I am perplexed by the Department’s assertion that the Planning Advice Note is not a change in policy given that so many stakeholders, Councils, and others provided evidence to the contrary and demonstrated the difficulty this Note is causing. It is only fair that an issue having this extensive impact should be considered fully and in discussion with those concerned before implementation.”

The Committee raised the concerns of a number of district councils, the Ulster Farmer’s Union and the Rural Community Network, all of which advised that the Planning Advice Note was a departure from the usual planning guidance and policy, and was negatively affecting planning decisions.

During the briefing, officials advised that the planning guidance was consulted on in 2016 and did not need to be reviewed for a Planning Advice Note. Based on the evidence presented at the meeting, a majority of the Committee were of the opinion that the Minister should withdraw the Advice Note.

The Committee believes that a new consultation with those affected should be undertaken and has called on the Minister to withdraw the Advice Note until such a consultation has taken place.

ENDS

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