GEORGE TOWN: Environmental experts concur with Gerakan's call for the Penang Island Municipal Council to adhere to the Penang Structure Plan 2005--2020 when addressing hillslope development projects in the state.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) honorary secretary and environmental lawyer Meena Raman said in the absence of the Penang Island Local Plan, the structure plan will prevail and the council was obliged to use it to consider development projects.
"The structure plan is a development policy drawn up under Section 7 of the Town and County Planning Act 1976, which maps out guidelines on how development can take place."
"In some instances, particularly in land disputes regarding sensitive development projects, the legal fraternity would invoke it as the 'law' and it must be abided," Meena said.
When asked about planning permissions granted by the council and how they should be viewed if they are resubmitted, albeit with amendments by developers, Meena told The Malay Mail they should be considered as new submissions.
"Since the renewed submission has changes, it cannot be approved only because there is a pre--existing approval," said Meena.
She added in the event the local council decides to strike out a submission for planning permission, it could do so without having to pay compensation.
Meena said that although Section 25(7) of the Town and Country Planning Act states that if a planning permission is revoked for reasons of public interest, the local planning authority shall offer compensation to the developer as the former thinks is adequate but the situation differs in this case.
"When the planning permission is cancelled, there is compensation. But when a project's proponent changes plans from that which was approved, a new planning permission is needed and thus there is no issue of compensation here."