Planning Minister Mark H Durkan yesterday told his scrutiny committee he stood by his decision on Tuesday not to proceed with new planning legislation.
In June the Assembly passed amendments giving the First and Deputy First Ministers potential power to set up special economic planning zones.
The grounds on which objectors could secure judicial reviews were also to be limited. Former environment minister Alex Attwood saw the changes as a power grab.
Mr Durkan told MLAs on the Environment Committee yesterday he stood by his decision to block the legislation.
Instead he is bringing forward features from the bill in the form of a new planning policy, which is to be in place by the 2015 elections, he said.
DUP MLA Peter Weir said that there was an “irony” that two major amendments passed by the house were not being incorporated into the guidance while a lesser amendment by Anna Lo was.
Sinn Fein MLA Cahal Boylan said questions had to be asked as to why the committee had taken the legislation through so many stages for it to be cancelled. He suggested it could have continued with the two amendments being looked at separately in the courts.
But the minister said the “11th hour” amendments had become part of the bill and could not have been separated from it.
He said groups were “lining up” to make legal challenges to the bill and proceeding would not have speeded up the devolution of planning functions to local government.