21 Nov 2006

Last week, Ryan Tubridy devoted an entire hour of his radio show to the issue of planning in Ireland. I participated along with developer Matt Gallagher, Cllr. Bill Carey and Andrew Hind a planner with Cork County Council. During the show, Duncan Stewart called in – it was an interview with him on RTE earlier in the week which got the whole thing going in the first place. It was a spirited discussion and we all got a chance to air our views. You can download it at http://www.rte.ie/radio1/thetubridyshow/1054047.html (go to Friday November 10th).

During the week I also did a number of interviews with local radio stations around the country. In some cases listeners called in with comments, otherwise they contacted me by email. Here are some of the issues that emerged:

In Mayo, a landowner submitted a request for a Pre Planning Consultation three months ago. After fifteen emails and twenty odd phone calls, he still hadn’t received a response from the local authority (I’m happy to say that this had been resolved by the end of the week).

An applicant for a single family house in Clare had to submit a ‘road safety audit’. It cost her €1,700 in professional fees. These audits are commonplace for larger projects, but this is the first time we’ve heard of one for a single family house. Are they really necessary? Are there any more out there?

Many, many people have a problem with submitting landscape plans for single family houses on the grounds that it’s an invasion of their privacy.

Many are also frustrated by the high turnover of staff within planning offices – there are complaints that staff are too frequently moved around within planning departments or that they take up new jobs in other local authorities. The problem is that when a new planner is assigned to an application, you end up starting from scratch. I have to admit that I’ve been frustrated by this problem myself.

Some have suggested that I do a ‘Rate My Council’. I don’t have the information or resources to do it right now, but it’s certainly worth thinking about.

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