14 Nov 2006

An interesting environmental policy document published by the PDs some time back didn't receive the criticism it deserved. On face value, it seemed like they were trying to reposition themselves in the 'An Taisce versus the Irish Rural Dwellers Association one-off-house' debate: for example, the paper proposed local development boards would be established to comment on proposals in rural areas because '… It is important to have someone on… (local development boards)… who understands rural people and rural life…'. The text is a mix of good intentions (disabled access for all) and no-hope initiatives ('… easy access to a well structured, pre-planning process is crucial…' As if.).

Most interestingly, though, is the proposal that:
'… League tables of successful/unsuccessful planning applications for Architectural/Engineering firms should be posted on the website of every County Council to ensure the public have appropriate information at their disposal to make informed choices in selecting the firms to work with…'

As anyone who has had any dealings with the planning system knows, the PDs have it the wrong way around on this one: it is the architects and engineers of the country who should be keeping league tables on the performance of planning authorities. If the PDs were to have their way the people of one western city, for example, would have no one to help them with their kitchen extensions as every architect and engineer in town would be on the Council's black list.

The document is published by the Progressive Democrats Policy Group on Rural Planning and is available on the web. The Group comprises Noel Grealish, Ciaran Cannon, Jim Cuddy, Thomas Welby, Tom Parlon, Tim O'Malley, Mae Sexton, Michael Brennan and John Dardis.

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