12 Mar 2007

'Your observations on the planning  system  are  well  overdue. I  feel  for  the planner   who  diligently  tries  to  operate  under  the  heavy  workload…but ultimate responsibility  needs to  be placed  right  at  the  top  of  the  system - Government...' 
'The  whole  system  stinks,  it is a license  for busy-bodies  and  cranks,  and  it  promotes  only mediocrity  without  chopping  out  the  dross...'
'I worked in the local authority system for 20 years before leaving to set up on my own. As an engineer for XXX Council we were always expected to return phone calls and always reply to letters. Planners do not seem to think this is necessary or part of their duties. You might get lucky after 10 calls and get a call back but most likely not. I have, over the years, written several letters to planners without reply...'
'If  you  think about  it, it  takes  the  same  amount  of  time to actually  validate an application whether it is done when ‘handed in’ as it does 2, 3 or 4 weeks later . I have had applications invalidated 3 - 4 weeks after lodging: one after seven weeks. Surely this is too long and understandably upsets clients…'

Comment of the week (in reference to the pickle Tainaiste Michael McDowell found himself in a while back re his holiday home):

  • FACT:  Hundreds  of  people  are  bullied  by  Local  Authorities  in  the  way Minister  McDowell  was
  • FACT: They  don’t  have  the  resources  to  take  judicial  reviews  etc.
  • FACT:  They  have  to  put  up  with  it -whether  unconstitutional,  contrary  to  law, unfair, ultra vires, whatever.
  • FACT:  Minister  McDowell  wins  his  case,  as  would  most  others  if  they  had  the  resources


  • PUNCHLINE : He  then  pronounces  confidence  in  the  whole  system  and  stresses  his  was  a  “one-off”  incident.

It  is  the  quasi-judicial  element  and  lack  of  natural  justice  that  really  gets  me'.

Thanks to everyone for contacting me. Some nice validation stories too, which I’m saving for next week. Also some comments on sustainability, global warming, construction costs in Ireland v costs in Germany, all of them worth a mention and I’ll try to get around to them as soon as I can.

It’s still disappointing that so many of you – local authority officials as well as people working in the private sector – feel so insecure about having your stories/names published in the Dispatch. It’s surely an indication that we have serious problem when ordinary lay folk can’t express their views about something as simple as a planning application for fear it will have repercussions.
Btw, next time, at the suggestion of several correspondents, I’m going to look at one of the other great bugbears: ‘Requests for Information’. So if you have any comments you’d like to make in advance, feel free

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