16 Jul 2008

Just got my hands on the RIAI's survey of members regarding the quality of the planning service. Here are the main points:

  • In general, high levels of on-the-spot validation service provision equate to high levels of satisfaction with the management of planning applications (e.g. Sligo Co. Council; Limerick Co. Council), although this is not always necessarily the case (e.g. 41% of those dealing with Clare Co. Council claim it provides an on-the-spot validation service, but overall satisfaction levels with this Local Authority are just 3.82 out of a potential 10).
  • There is near-unanimous agreement (84%) that the great majority of Local Authorities use LAPs.
    When asked what they felt the greatest source of delay is in processing planning applications, a significant majority of RIAI members immediately cite the planners in the Local Authorities.
  • The second greatest perceived sources of delay are the drainage departments, and roads departments.
  • All in all, neither the Parks Departments nor the Environmental Impact Assessment functions are perceived as significant sources of delays.
  • Almost eight in ten of all RIAI members feel that planning decisions taken are not supportive of good quality design in the built environment.
  • Almost two thirds (62%) feel that the primary responsibility for planning process improvements lies with the Department of the Environment, with 28% suggesting this responsibility should be that of the planners in Local Authorities.
  • Opinion is more evenly divided as to precisely who is primarily responsible for quality in the built environment. Thus 43% suggest architects are first and foremost responsible in this regard, followed by 31% mentioning the Government, 23% clients, and 19% planners.
  • Very few RIAI members suggest that builders are responsible in this context.
  • While most (91%) feel that the planning process is dealing efficiently with demographic shifts and future population projections, only 14% feel the system is well positioned to cope with changes regarding energy performance, accessibility, sustainability, etc.
  • Opinion is almost evenly divided as to whether the six year timescale for future statutory development planning is adequate, although almost three quarters of the 41% suggesting this timescale is inadequate feel it should be longer, at on average 16 years in total.
  • Finally, respondents were afforded the opportunity to volunteer additional comments/issues they might like to register in relation to Local Authority planning in general.
  • The greatest criticism emerging at this question related to a belief (held by 17% of respondents) that planners in the Local Authorities are under qualified/under trained.
  • A further 13% referred to a general feeling of dissatisfaction with the planning system, while one in ten spontaneously suggested that there is too much inconsistency in planning between Local Authorities.

I'll ferret out more juicy bits when I get a chance and post them tomorrow.

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