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Planning

Part of Ministerial Statement – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 1:30 pm on 11th May 2009.

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Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Education) 1:30 pm, 11th May 2009

The consultation has finished, and those results will go before the Environment Committee next week. I think that that will happen next Thursday. The Executive subgroup will also consider the consultation results.

On 26 June, I will receive the report from the review group that has been considering what can be done for non-farm rural dwellers. We will consider changes to draft PPS 21 over the summer, and that should be finalised in the autumn, when the policy will go to the Executive for final ratification.

We are emphasising the retention of vernacular buildings in respect of replacement dwellings or dealing with disused buildings. I hope that the design guide will be available towards the end of the year. That will offer guidance to people who must restore old buildings on the type of additional features that can be added.

I spoke at a conference in Cushendall a couple of weeks ago. We looked at some old vernacular buildings and modern additions that had been made to them. I would be quite excited if the design guide could incorporate some of those ideas so that we can make good use of some of the old buildings in the countryside. Consequently, those buildings would not have to be knocked down, but could be turned into useful, liveable properties.