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NI minister confirms small number of complaints over new-look planning authorities

Words: Roger Milne
Chris Hazzard

Infrastructure minister Chris Hazzard said a number of complaints have been levelled against a small number of the new planning authorities during the first year that the councils exercised planning powers.

The “guilty” councils have not been identified, but the minister said only a few of the 11 councils were involved.

His comment came after the Northern Ireland Green Party leader, Steven Agnew, warned of "repeated and persistent" failures by some councils to implement their own planning policies, practices and procedures”.

Hazzard said the complaints "raised some concerns with the performance of some of the new local councils with regard to the administration and delivery of their recently inherited planning responsibilities and functions".

"I am aware that the former Department of the Environment received a small number of correspondence cases during the period 2015-16, the first year since the transfer of the newly reformed planning system," he said in a written Assembly answer.

The minister said the current period would represent a baseline year against which to monitor future performance.

Image credit | Sinn Féin