Obviously, politicians did not learn after the vandalism that occurred when farmers, speculators and builders had a free-for-all due to a lack of controls on planning in the countryside.
As I travel around more and more new houses are appearing, some of which are in open fields.
There seem to be more sites up for sale since the councils were put in charge of planning.
How did some of these houses get planning permission?
When the new law was brought in, (PPS21) it was watered down from the original draft.
There were those politicians who, probably through self-interest, argued against strict controls being put in place.
One politician on the committee was even accused of wanting to build in every field!
A local farmer informed me that if he wanted he could get three sites passed on his land.
Money should not be allowed to dictate planning.
Farmers are supposed to be custodians of the countryside but there are those who when I look over the countryside, it seems to me that some farmers build more houses than plant crops.
This makes it hard to sympathise with many farmers and land owners. We have seen in recent days that big land owners were receiving large hand outs from the EU.
Hopefully when we leave the EU, the subsidies will be given to those farmers who do wonderful things to protect the countryside, the environment and its wildlife.
It was a bad thing to put local politicians in charge of planning as refusal often offends.
The current legislation needs to be strengthen against unnecessary building in the countryside and we need independent officials to carry the working out of the legislation.
I wonder if they keep the minutes of the planning committees? I think some of it would make interesting reading!
John Mulholland, Doagh