QPANI angered by planning fee increase
Featured in07 May 2009 - 12:41
THE Quarry Products Association Northern Ireland (QPANI) has reacted angrily to an announcement that planning fees are to rise by 20%, a move which, the Association says, could lead to further job losses in the province.
The proposed increase was announced by Environment Minister Sammy Wilson following a sharp reduction in Planning Service income from planning applications, as a result of the economic slowdown.
In response, QPANI regional director Gordon Best claimed the Minister’s proposal was beyond belief during the current economic decline, when the business community was working with the Executive on a number of fronts to protect jobs, increase investment and prepare Northern Ireland for the economic upturn.
‘This once again illustrates the disconnect that there is between the public sector and the business community,’ he said.
QPANI is to write to the Minister and the Environment Committee in an effort to stop the proposed increase and to put forward other ways in which Planning Service can restructure, in the short term, to deal with the current fall in income from reduced planning applications.
‘The reality in the private sector is that during these difficult times when companies have experienced significant reductions in income, they have had to move people around within their businesses to areas that have been short-staffed,’ added Mr Best. ‘If that has not been possible, they have had to cut their cloth and make people redundant.’
‘Planning Service should be no different to the private sector. The economy will pick up again, planning applications will increase and, therefore, income for Planning Service will return.
‘We urge the Minister and the Executive to nip this proposal in the bud immediately and not pass on additional costs to potential investors at the very time when we need all the investment we can get.’
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