1 Oct 2008
Last week I wondered what Council planners were doing these days to keep busy now that now one is making planning applications any more. But no sooner had I hit the ‘post’ button than John Gormley serendipitously answered my question. Planners are about to get busy interpreting a new set of guidelines regarding flooding and, in particular, giving folks living in terraced houses in the suburbs of Dublin and Cork a hard time paving their gardens to provide extra parking. From the draft ‘The Planning System and Flood Risk Management’ published by the Minister last week, we have this...

… written by someone who’s never had to deal with the planning system in their life. For example, can you imagine how many Requests for Information will accrue from the undefined term ‘significant hard surfacing’? (Significant in global terms? Or a significant part of what is in reality a tiny little garden?) Or the suggestion that conditions be added to approvals which ‘… minimise and limit the extent of hard surfacing…’? On this last one, I can guarantee you that every time an application is lodged which includes any amount of paving – any amount at all – a request will go out telling the applicant to reduce it. This will be a standard FI this time next year.

Wouldn’t it be so much easier to say: anyone in a two up two down in the suburbs thinking of putting in paving around their house, use one of these three pre-approved details and you’ll be fine.  Write a note to us and confirm that you're complying with the rules. If we catch you out, you're in trouble.

The Planning System and Flood Risk Management’ is a 98 page document which could easily be edited down to four without loosing any of its meaning. The Glossary of Terms which includes...   

… eh, not really - and…

… should be tossed (as should the definition of 'Urban Creep' which suggests ‘the spread of surface paving into the countryside’ and not what you and I think it should mean).

I’ll leave you with this nugget of pseudo scientific jargon the drafters of the document delight in bringing to our attention:

To which I counter

Haemorrhoids = unaccountable local authority planning departments X government guidelines

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