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Durkan admits planning handover has posed problems

Words: Roger Milne

Transferring planning powers to local authorities has created a backlog of applications, environment minister Mark H Durkan told the Northern Ireland Assembly this week.

He conceded that problems had arisen after the 11 new super-councils assumed the new responsibilities last month.

He said: “While the transition has been relatively smooth, I cannot stand here and tell you that it has been seamless."

The transition, rolled out as part of the review of public administration, saw the bulk of planning powers devolved from central to local government from April 1.

It involved the transfer of 400 staff and 6,500 live applications. 

The minister acknowledged that there had been minor issues in places with the transfer of staff and with the transfer of cases.

"However, I have outlined previously in the chamber the benefits of planning going to local councils. Hopefully, it won't take much time for the new systems to bed in,” he said.

Image courtesy of the Northern Ireland Executive