We need to protect rural areas from too many homes

Less and less Ulster countryside is unspoilt like this scene in Co Armagh, because so many houses are being built
Less and less Ulster countryside is unspoilt like this scene in Co Armagh, because so many houses are being built

It is a sad that it is getting harder to find country roads now to cycle or walk in Northern Ireland without traffic. Roads you can enjoy, where you are not watching for traffic.

On most country roads you have a 60 mile per hour speed limit.

The fact is that the sanctuary of the countryside has been taken away though the lack of legislation to prevent unnecessary building.

When PPS14 was scrapped and replaced by PPS21 it was full of loopholes for speculators and farmers to continue to make money at the countryside’s expense.

We even have those who would reside in single dwellings for a short period and then the for sale sign goes up. I am informed it is a way in avoiding taxes.

When PPS21 was introduced the then environment minister Alex Attwood arranged to have planning officer training days because some areas were carrying out the law differently than others.

As a result of this the successful applications rose to 88% in 2012 to 2013 from around 74% 2011 to 2012 for replacement and single dwellings.

I think that this proves that there are loopholes to get around the planning law.

We are still seeing sites going up for sale not even near farm houses. Now that the council has taken over planning I am amazed at some of the applications that are passed.

They continue to pass houses even though the roads are not there to accommodate the extra traffic this brings.

It seems that some people look at it as extra rates and more money to spend. We owe it to generations to come and our wildlife to protect the countryside from being destroyed.

It is well documented that the countryside is a great tonic to people’s mental and physical health. We need laws that protect it from those who would exploit it for money.

John Mulholland, Doagh