DoE let Campsie sand firm withdraw retro application

A quarrying firm was allowed to withdraw a retrospective planning application for works along the River Faughan despite the bid being deemed refused on June 4, 2010.

A refusal letter was finally issued to Campsie Sand and Gravel’s agent two weeks ago. That’s in spite of the applicant failing to provide an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIS) with the original application in 2009.

Environment Minister Mark H. Durkan said the application to extract minerals from the Mobuoy road site was refused on June 4, 2010. But “a procedural error resulted in no letter issuing to the applicant, advising of the deemed refusal,” the Minister explained.

Ten days later officials from the DoE met and agreed to allow the application to be withdrawn. The decision was taken because fees for the application had not been paid.

Green MLA Stephen Agnew asked Mr Durkan whether his Department met on June 24, 2010 and overruled the “lawful decision” to refuse permission.

Mr Durkan replied: “At an internal meeting held on 24 June 2010 a shortfall in the fee received in respect of this application was discussed. While procedurally a decision should not issue where it is evident that a fee, or part of a fee, is outstanding, the application remains deemed refused in accordance with the EIA Regulations.”

Mr Durkan acknowledged: “I can confirm that file reference A/2009/0400/F contains a note of a meeting between officials agreeing to the withdrawal of this case. A letter issued to the agent and to the Area Planning Office on 28 June 2010 advising that the application had been withdrawn.

“I can advise that a letter issued to the agent on 5 November 2013 advising that this application is in fact deemed refused.”

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