Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Planning complaints scheme launched

Environment Minister Alex Attwood has introduced a new system for planning complaints

A new streamlined planning complaints procedure has been launched by Environment Minister Alex Attwood.

It is designed to make the process of complaining easier and more user friendly.

The main change is to reduce the number of steps from three to two.

Mr Attwood said: "Planning is complex. The easier we make it for the public to navigate, the better.

"The winding up of the Planning Service and the integration of planning into the DoE has provided an excellent opportunity to introduce a more customer-focused and streamlined complaints procedure."

He said many problems could be dealt with informally.

"The new procedure I am introducing is intended to manage more formal complaints which would normally be made in writing to the relevant Planning Officer," he added.

"The main change is to reduce the number of steps from three to two, the first stage handled by the appropriate area planning manager and the second at director level; this will short-circuit the process and lead to speedier resolutions.

"Any complainant who still remains dissatisfied can ask an MLA to take the complaint to the Assembly Ombudsman."

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