21 Sep 2007

I’m told that County Clare is now looking for ten copies of all planning applications. For those of you who aren’t in the building game, planning applications cost a lot of money to prepare. The paper which architects use to print their drawings on costs a fortune. So does the plotting ink. On a medium to large project, you can imagine how costs could add up. Quite apart from the expense of making these copies, when you consider that tens of thousands of planning applications are lodged every year it amounts to an incredible waste of paper. What I can’t understand is, we have the technology to save drawings as .pdf files (in other words, files which can’t really be edited by third parties), so why can’t we email our planning applications to the Council? Then they can view the application on a screen or waste their own money on making as many unnecessary copies if they want to. 


Also, I heard a good one about a situation in the west (I haven’t read the planning file yet, so I won’t mention the County) where an elderly gent wanted to renovate an old cottage which he has owned for many a long year and where he intended to retire. He was refused planning permission on the grounds that the planners ‘suspected’ that in order to do the work he was intending to carry out he’d have to demolish the existing house first (he had no intention of doing this) which would mean that the site would technically become a ‘greenfield’ and, therefore, subject to policies of the development plan preventing new development in greenfield sites. Absolutely ludicrous.


And I came across another story which is extremely complicated and has many twists and turns but centres on a citizens inability to contact the planners in a southern county so she can explain to the planners that their previous refusal to grant her planning permission to build a house on the grounds that she has already built a house in the area is mistaken – she wants to point out that the house they think she has already built was, in fact, the result of a successful planning application applied for by someone entirely different and, although approved, but which was never built. The poor woman is going out of her mind.


Which reminds me. The week before last I did a piece in the Tribune where I asked for contestants to compete for Irelands Worst Planning Stories 2007. The response has been, well, just okay. Requests for information, delays and so on. But no real doozies. If anyone out there has anything new they’d like to share with the world, let me know and we’ll get it in the Trib.

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