8 Jul 2008

I’ll be on the John Cooke show on Clare FM tomorrow (Wednesday 9th) after 10.00 a.m. talking about the following:

I did a little research in the past few days and discovered that planning applications for Clare County Council (excluding Ennis, Kilrush, Kilkee and Shannon [correction: Kilkee and Shannon are included in the County Planning stats]) for the first six months of this year are down 40% on last year, from 1,750+/- in 2007 to 1,050+/- in 2008.

However, a quick review of the statistics shows that, despite the starkly lower numbers, the Council aren’t getting better at processing applications any faster.

Of 725 +/- applications lodged to the beginning of May only about 25 could be described as being medium scale or larger and of these, from what I can make out, only one – an apartment complex in Sixmilebridge – was approved. All others have been refused/withdrawn/stalled/sent for Further Information, etc.

About 250 applications were lodged for single houses. Nearly half of these are in FI.

It seems the only types of planning application Clare is capable of handling within the '2 month' period are house extensions, retentions or other inconsequential developments.

Anybody out there up to doing a little review of your own local Council’s recent performance? I’d be glad to publish.

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Remember last week I posted about an applicant who can’t (for quite a few reasons, in fairness) get planning permission for a house in a visually sensitive area in Wicklow, one of which reason is somehow related to the fact that you can see the Sugarloaf Mountain from the site? Well since then, folks from (God, this is getting embarrassing) County Clare are telling me that planners recently objected to the construction of a beautifully designed house because it would be visible from the East Clare Way. The ECW is a walking route which takes you way off the beaten track. In other words, you see things from the ECW that most people wouldn't normally get to see. Don’t get me wrong, the East Clare Way is very beautiful, but being able to see the odd house as you amble along it is no reason for a refusal of planning permission.

Elsewhere in the Banner, planners had a problem that a house proposed for an elevated site would be visible from Lough Derg, even though the house in question would have been quite a distance from the shoreline.

So, the view of the countryside as experienced by weekend party groups on ugly rental boats who spiritedly gad about, generating noise and garbage (and who not infrequently end up over the side) is protected? Shouldn't it be the other way around?

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This is a funny one: a Dublin solicitor decided to add an extension to the back of his house. Because the proposed extension would block light into his architect-neighbour’s house, the pair came to an agreement: the solicitor would pay to install a skylight in the architect’s house to allow more light into the architect’s stairwell and in return the architect would not object to the solicitor’s planning application.

Except, the architect’s house was a Protected Structure, so when it came time to get planning approval for the skylight, the Council refused. The solicitor, therefore, was not in a position to keep his side of the bargain. Things, as they always do in easily-insulted-and-perpetually-indignant South Dublin, ended up in court. The judge found in favour of the architect (but only technically, it would apear) and made the solicitor (who actually got what he wanted) pay all sorts of compensation. You’ll find the details here:
 
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2008/0708/1215380381079.html 

I didn’t think the right to object to a planning application was something which could be bought or sold or made contingent on something which one party – in this case, the solicitor – had no power to deliver? If it isn't, it shouldn't.  

Obviously, we’d need details before we can comment… but when I someday get around to committing a murder, I hope I end up before Judge Linnane.

(And why is it that the tiniest little skylight problems in South Dublin always end up in the courts?) 

Tuesday, 08 July 2008 13:58:15 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Interesting post Garry - On VIA, People don't seem to understand the principles or the guidelines on Visual Impact Assessment - namely that 'The significance of impacts on the perceived environment will depend partly on the number of people affected but also on value judgments about how much the changes will matter'... Maybe the use of the words 'value' and 'judgements' is the difficulty...
Tuesday, 08 July 2008 14:26:35 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
You're absolutely right. By the way, congratulations on the blog - not only is it fun, it's really well written.
Garry
Wednesday, 09 July 2008 10:11:22 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Thanks very much Garry. While I'm at it, I might as well add that there is a thing called 'screening'....
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