Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Monday, 21 March 2011

Planning Bill

Environment Minister Edwin Poots moved the further consideration stage of the Planning Bill, on 21 March 2011.

The bill aims to reform the planning process, and gives effect to the Review of Public Administration (RPA) changes to transfer local development planning decision responsibilities to district councils.

Most amendments at further consideration stage were technical, however there was a DUP petition of concern on an amendment to allow for third party planning appeals.

This required the vote on the amendment to be taken on a cross-community basis.

John Dallat for the SDLP said the provision for third party appeals would go some way to restoring public confidence in the planning system.

The Alliance's Anna Lo said the amendment would allow for appropriate third party appeals, and that questions over some politicians' links to developers meant the issue should be dealt with carefully.

She also requested that petitions of concern should be made public as they were being abused by the DUP and Sinn Féin.

Edwin Poots said he objected to a third party appeal process because the legislation was designed to transfer planning powers to councils.

He added that development "was not a bad word" and that the new system should be allowed to bed down for three years, after which the issue of third party appeals could be revisited.

The amendment on third party appeals fell, with other amendments passing.

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