We did consult on plans, says Department

IN repsonse to accusations that it didn’t do enough to make people aware of the opportunity to make known their support or objection to the Asda planning application, the Department of the Environment has detailed below the efforts it made to publicise the proposals.

“It is wrong to suggest that the Department of Environment (DOE) has not consulted on this,” said a spokeswoman.

“The application was advertised in the Mourne Observer and Banbridge Chronicle on the 15/12/2010 and in the Rathfriland Outlook and Banbridge Leader on the 16/12/2010.

“The Department subsequently advertised the receipt of a Transport Assessment in respect of the application in the Banbridge Chronicle on the 13/6/2012 and in the Rathfriland Outlook and Banbridge Leader on the 14/6/2012.

“The statutory period of time for submitting representations would be two weeks from the date of the advertisement. However, the Department accepts representations in writing up until which point a decision is made.

“The Department also notified 124 properties in accordance with normal procedures. This is part of the non-statutory neighbour notification scheme. Again, the Department accepts representations in writing up until which point a decision is made.

“In addition details of the application would also have been available to view on the Public Access website.

“The Department received 26 objections to the planning application and three letters of support.

“This fulfils the Department’s statutory responsibility in relation to consultations. The Department considers all representations received when determining an application and considers this an important part of the process.”