‘Council must review planning service’ – McKevitt

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Tuesday, January 19th, 2016
SDLP Representatives Karen McKevitt MLA and Justin McNulty are calling on Newry, Mourne and Down Council to review the planning service following reports of significant delays and backlogs.
SDLP MLA Karen McKevitt will not seek party nomination for South Down

SDLP MLA Karen McKevitt

McKevitt said, “It is no secret that there have been significant delays processing planning applications in the local planning office. “It seems that the timeframe for making planning decisions has increased drastically since the service was integrated into Council structures in early 2015 and while delays could be justified at the start of the transition period, almost 10 months on the excuses are no longer acceptable. “On a daily basis constituents and architects contact my Constituency Office to report significant delays, some submitted applications in 2014 and have yet to receive a decision. “I am informed that a recruitment process is underway to increase the number of planners in the local office. This is a welcome step but I feel it might not be enough to remedy the situation, a complete review is now needed,” she insisted. Justin McNulty said, “Urgent action is required to address the significant delays when processing planning applications in Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. “The slow decision making is not only very frustrating for applicants and agents alike, but impacts on the level of work for the building sector, employment levels and prevents agents from closing cases. He added, “I understand that individual planners are not at fault, they are working as fast as they can, but the management is responsible for not fixing this problem sooner. It is imperative that steps are taken to ensure the people of Newry, Mourne and Down receive a first class service and are not at a disadvantage.”
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