Letter to the office of the Parliamentary
Commissioner for Standards
from Mr D H Carroll, Divisional Planning
J R BEGGS
I refer to your letter of 9th March 2001 concerning
- The site is a low-lying area of farmland off
Ballyrickard Road and close to the Inver River which is subject
to flooding. The scheme is to fill the area with inert material,
grade with topsoil and grass over.
- A fully application for planning permission for
an agricultural improvement scheme on 11.25 acres of land was
received and validated by the Department on 1st December 1989.
- The neighbouring properties were notified on
7th December 1989 and the application was advertised in the local
press on 14th December 1989. This resulted in one letter of objection
from a resident being received by the Department 22nd December
1989 objecting on the basis of access, traffic, and environmental
- Roads Service returned their consultation reply
on 8th January 1990 with no objections to temporary permission
being granted for 1 year which should be defined in the planning
- Water Service had no objections to the proposal.
- Environmental Health stated that a Waste Disposal
Licence may be required depending on the type of material to be
- The Department of Agriculture indicated that
infilling should be kept back from the 3 watercourses on the boundaries
of the site. Details of any discharge to a watercourse require
the approval of the Department of Agriculture and details of any
such proposals should be submitted for appraisal.
- A copy file was forwarded to Environment Unit
on 7th December 1989 for their consideration and recommendation.
A recommendation of approval was received on 16th March 1990 subject
to a number of conditions and informatives.
- A letter was sent to Larne Borough Council on
2nd March 1990. This was to inform the Council that one letter
of objection received regarding this application had not appeared
on the schedule of applications to be brought before the Development
and Consultative Committee at the meeting of 5th March 1990.
- A letter was also sent to the objector on 2nd
March 1990 informing him of the Department's contact with the
Council informing them of his objection letter and to reassure
him that his letter of objection was fully considered in assessing
- The application was brought to Larne Borough
Council on 5th March 1990 with the Department's opinion to approve.
- As result a decision notice was issued on 28th
- The Minister, Mr Needham, received a letter from
a complainant dated 6th April 1990 concerning the following points:
i. the proposed use of
ii. consultations between the Department of Agriculture
and Planning Service regarding land to be brought into agricultural
iii. consultations with Conservation Branch and
iv. action Department would take if the site
is left as a rubbish dump; omission of his letter of objection
from the planning schedule going to Council meeting.
- This was forwarded to the Department for a reply.
- The Department replied to the Minister regarding
the complainant's letter on 21st May 1990 addressing his concerns
that the application was for inert material, not rubbish, grade
with topsoil and grassed over. The Department advised that "surplus"
land was not a material planning consideration and should be directed
to the Department of Agriculture. The Department added that there
was no consultation with Conservation Branch or Fisheries Division
regarding the application and that Condition 04 refers to the
prevention of slippage of debris into the river and consent is
required under Informatives 02 and 04 to discharge to any watercourse.
With regard to the issue of the site being left as a rubbish dump,
the Department advised that enforcement action would be taken
if Condition 05 is breached. The Department stated that the Council
was advised of the objector's letter when it was brought to their
attention that this had been omitted from the schedule.
- The Department advised the complainant of these
issues in a letter dated 12th June 1990.
- The Minister, Mr Needham, received a letter of
complaint dated 13th June 1990 in reply to the Department's letter
dated 12th June 1990. The complainant stated that the Department
had failed to address the central points of his previous letter
of 6th April 1990 regarding incompatibility between the Planning
Service's policies and that of the Department of Agriculture,
and the granting of planning permission on land which has never
been in productive agricultural usage. He also queried why "surplus"
land was not a material planning consideration.
- The Department received correspondence from the
House of Commons on 12th September 1990 asking us to reply to
the complainant's letter of 13th June 1990 through them.
- The Department received a letter dated 8th September
1990 from the complainant advising them that the planning approval
had been violated. It was alleged that Mr Beggs was dumping wood
waste, plastic fertiliser bags, tree stumps, barbed wire and corrugated
iron and that the site had been made into a public dump with various
people depositing waste at a rate per load.
- The site was inspected by a Planning Officer
on 24th September 1990 and the access roadway was clean, gateway
access closed and secured and infilling proceeding in accordance
with the planning approval. However, one old tree stump was partially
visible under the infilled face and a sheet of old corrugated
iron was also noted.
- A follow-up site visit took place on 28th September
1990 and the site was reported to be very well maintained and
enforcement action was not supported.
- The Department responded to the House of Commons
correspondence on 28th September 1990 advising that further to
site visits undertaken the infilling was proceeding in accordance
with the planning approval. There was evidence of one tree stump
and one sheet of corrugated iron protruding from the slope. However,
on the basis of the appearance of the site enforcement action
was not advocated. There was no evidence to suggest the site was
being used as a public dump and any suggestion of collusion between
the Department and the MP was strongly refuted.
- A letter was sent to the Assistant Director of
Town and Country Planning Service from the Divisional Planning
Officer on 1st October 1990 concerning the dispute of the complainant
and Mr Beggs (the applicant) and the complainant's suggestion
of collusion between Mr Beggs and the Planning Office. The Department
raised the point that the applicant was an MP and a member of
the Larne Borough Council, and consequently there was considerable
contact at all officer levels with him during the normal carrying
out of his and the officer's duties.
- A further letter of complaint was submitted to
the Department dated 4th October 1990 enclosing photographs of
alleged unauthorised dumping.
- The Department responded on 12th October 1990
to the complainant's letter of 8th September 1990 stating that
the Divisional Planning Office would respond to his letter.
- The Minister responded to the House of Commons
letter of 28th September 1990 on 23rd October 1990 outlining the
background to the application, consultees and that the objectors
views were taken into account during the assessment of the planning
application. It also addressed the point that the future of agriculture
and the countryside was not valid in respect of an individual
- The Department responded to the complainant's
letter of 8th September 1990 and 8th November 1990. The Department
advised the complainant that the site was thoroughly inspected
and the work was proceeding in accordance with the approved plans.
Addressing the issue of materials dumped, it was stated that there
was evidence of tree stumps and a small load of corrugated material.
However, the Department assessed these infringements and was of
the opinion that enforcement action was neither expedient nor
warranted at this time, but the site would be monitored. The allegation
of collusion was strongly refuted.
- The complainant telephoned the Department on
12th November 1990 regarding the letter sent to him dated 8th
November 1990 to indicate that he was not satisfied with the Department's
response and action to date. The complainant alleged there was
still collusion between the Department and Mr Beggs which was
yet again refuted by the Department. He claimed that all of his
correspondence to the Minister and the Department had not received
replies. Furthermore, he claimed that dumping of household refuse
was taking place on lands owned by Loughside Quarries and that
some of this material was entering a local watercourse. He was
not aware of any planning permission having been granted for the
alleged dumping. This was to be investigated by the Department.
- The complainant telephoned the Department once
again on 15th November 1990 advising that Mr Beggs had leased
the site to Mr McKee to carry out dumping to form the improvement
scheme. He alleged that Mr McKee had sub-leased the right to dump
on the land to others and that a DoE Roads Service lorry was on
the land disposing of a load of asphalt. The Department advised
the complainant that the Departmental responsibilities relating
only to ensuring that the conditions of the planning permission
were being met, but that the matter would be investigated.
- The DoE Roads Service were contacted on 15th
November 1990 to bring this matter to their attention.
- The Department contacted the complainant on 20th
November 1990 regarding the telephone conversation of 12th November
1990 to outline that all correspondence from him and been responded
- Environment Unit visited the site once again
on 2nd August 1993 but could find no breach of conditions of approval.
- A letter dated 4th August 1993 from Larne Borough
Council Environmental Health Department was received by the Department
6th August 1993. This was to alert the Department of their investigation
into a complaint alleging the site was being used as a landfill
site for controlled waste and to seek information relating to
the licensing conditions for the management of the site.
- The Department contacted the Environmental Health
Department by telephone on 29th October 1993.
Dyers, Bleachers and Finishers Site, Inver Road,
This site has been the subject of two planning applications,
one of which is presently a current application. Details are as
1. Application F/96/0067 for site of housing
development by Mr T Topping was received on 15th March 1996. Outline
planning permission was subsequently granted on 27th June 1996.
2. Application F/2001/0038/O for site of residential
development by Mr T Topping was received on 5th February 2001.
This is a current application and no planning decision has been
reached as yet.
14 March 2001