30 Jun 2008

A quick follow up on that situation in Hunters Run in Clonee where local residents are going out of their minds because of the parking situation Fingal Council has caused in their estate. One local resident got an email from the County Manager last week which, amongst a number of suggestions offering advice to the resident on how s/he should be complaining to the council (‘stop bothering us, we’ll get back eventually and you'll get what's good for you’ kind of thing) states that putting together a Traffic Management Plan for the area would have been ‘unprecedented’. Well, Fingal, sounds like its time you sat down and carried out a precendent establishing exercise.

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Don’t forget, lads, I’m still looking for Protected Structures (listed buildings) which are falling where they stand because the planning authorities are being way overly picky on planning applications, leading to planning refusals and, thereby, making bad situations worse.

I’m also looking for towns and villages around the country where the local authority is responsible for making them visually as unattractive as, or even less attractive than, Gort.

Much obliged to all for showing restraint in not actually naming the names of one or two planning folks who’ve been making impressions for all the wrong reasons lately.

But thanks, too, for reminding me about the planner who, despite being a psychopath, might have been said to have made a positive contribution during his career by approving anything put before him so long as it was made of red brick. This planner was known to stick forks into architects he didn’t like at alcohol fuelled corporate lunches, but I can’t ever say this happened to me personally (perhaps because on the single occasion I met him on a business matter following one such lunch, he actually passed out (passed out might be a bit of an exaggeration: laid his head on his desk and began babbling incoherently is a more accurate description. Anyway, I slipped out of his office, leaving the radio on (they were talking about the Flood Tribunal) in the hope that it would discourage people from entering until he’d had time to recover)). I was also spared the (at least two) occasions when parts of his anatomy escaped cover just as he happened to brush past attractive women at packed social events. Thankfully, on both occasions some decent people (not, I hasten to add, architects who had planning applications due to come before him for adjudication) clocked him one.

It’s not all that long ago since this kind of crap was going on. And it really was going on - sure, I'm using a little flowery rhetoric and hyperbole to get your attention, but it really did happen. Not all that long ago either - it's not as if we can all explain away our cowardice and lack of integrity by saying ‘oh, that’s the way things were done in the nineties’.

I’m not saying that there are any fork-sticking flashers in senior positions in planning authorities any more (although there may be a chair thrower) but the culture which allowed this kind of thing to happen has never been put under scrutiny. It’s not just enough to glibly announce ‘things have changed’. Situations have changed, personalities have changed but the structures and institutions and opportunities to which allow this kind of nonsense to occur remain the same. All a lunatic like Planner X requires is opportunity. And when that happens, we'll continue to turn a blind eye.

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