Planning concerns on the agenda


Chairman of the Stormont Agriculture Committee William Irwin MLA is due to meet Environment Minister Mark Durkan MLA to raise concerns surrounding PPS21, the Planning Policy Statement which governs building houses in the countryside.

Mr Irwin said he has increasing concerns over the implementation of the policy, particularly in terms of locating new houses on farms and the clause which dictates that dwellings must be sited close to farm buildings. He also referred to concerns over the proximity of new proposed dwellings to farms in terms of safety for children and also technical financial issues regarding securing mortgages.

He stated: “Firstly I am encouraged that Minister Durkan is open to a meeting on this important issue and I am due to meet with him in early March. It will be an important opportunity to make the Minister aware of the concerns that exist within the rural community on PPS21 and its actual implementation out on the ground.”

He said a number of matters including the feasibility of the one house in ten years rule, will be debated at the meeting.

“As Planning prepares to enter a critical phase in the transfer to local Councils I look forward to discussing with Mr Durkan the concerns of the farming and rural community on this important matter,” he added.