The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has published its report into the planning in Northern Ireland, concluding that is is not fit for purpose and calling for a fundamental review of the system.
The report stated that, given the widespread, severe and entrenched nature of the issues, an independent body was needed to recommended “strategic changes needed to make the planning system fit for purpose.”
The committee found issues relating to poor performance, with many authorities failing to meet targets and make progress on Local Development Plans (LDPs) – with little or no accountability taken for falling standards. However, the report also expresses concerns around transparency in the planning system and a poorly thought-out operating model which was described as “one of the worst examples of silo-working within the public sector” that the Committee had encountered.
As well as an independent commission to identify the short and long term strategic changes that needed to be implemented, the committee also recommended a raft of other measures around a radical action plan formulated by the Department, a streamlined process to allow LDPs to be completed and swiftly implented and a special focus on transparency and consistency within the system, especially when it comes to decisions on rural housing.
Read the full report here.