SDLP councillor is critical of planning procedures

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SDLP Councillor Roisin Loftus has called for a review of planning procedures, which would allow the fast-tracking of planning applications for

local businesses.

The Kilrea councillor said: “Obviously if the planning application is highly unusual I would expect time to be taken before making a decision. However, most planning applications to start new businesses or expand them contain nothing unusual, and present no good reason why there should be a delay in processing those applications for planning approval.

“Now that planning is under the control of local councils, I would expect a huge improvement in the turn-round time for planning approvals especially when they mean jobs and enhancement of the local economy.

“Eighty-five per cent of business is made up of small and medium-sized enterprises. They are the heart and soul of the local economy and deserve to have red tape cut at every opportunity to enable them to prosper.

“Planning is a key obstacle to overcome and cannot be bypassed because so many other issues depend on planning approval before the business gets off the ground. Planning applications need to flow smoothly through the system with constant monitoring of their progress and a decision made at the very beginning of what additional information is needed so that the process from there on in is seamless and reaches a conclusion within a reasonable time,” said the SDLP woman.