Leonard demands greater enforcement of planning powers

Alliance South Belfast representative, Allan Leonard, had stated that
he has no confidence that existing planning powers are being
effectively enforced. He also said that if the Planning Service cannot
convince the public that it is serious about enforcement, then more
powers will have to be granted to an independent Ombudsman.

After
attending a meeting between South Belfast residents and officials from
the Planning Service, Allan Leonard said: “When I asked John Cummings,
the Division Planning Manager for Belfast, whether he believed he has
sufficient powers to enforce breaches of planning legislation, he
replied that he did. However, on behalf of Deramore Residents Group,
people at the meeting raised a series of examples that demonstrated
that Planning Service is not effectively using its powers of
enforcement.

“While the Planning Service do have powers to take action against
illegal building, there is ample evidence that not enough is done to
stop those who flout the law. This has fed a public perception that
developers can act with impunity to build whatever they like.

“It is in the best interests of all concerned that the Planning
Service exerts its full authority. Its negative image and lack of
respect from some developers makes a mockery of residents, politicians
and others who sincerely want a fair planning service.

“If the Planning Service cannot address its bad perception through
real action, then giving greater powers to an independent Ombudsman is
the only logical alternative.”

ENDS

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