30 Jan 2007
I hope this absolutely true story makes you feel as good as it did me. Not too long ago, that Tyrant, that Enemy of Democracy and scourge of the people of Déise, Councillor Paudie Coffey of the County of Waterford, built a palatial establishment for himself on a spectacular hillside site overlooking the Suir. The Coffey Compound, as it were... Not long after, a humble member of the local community sought planning permission for a modest house on a site downhill from the Red Tyrant’s castle. Red was furious and lodged a detailed objection to the Council complaining that the new house would interfere with the view of the River from his cryogenic therapy room.
30 Jan 2007

Have you heard that Dublin City Council is publishing a ‘name and shame’ list of people and things who/which are in breach of planning? Is this what the local authority is for?  Let me tell you: I’ve worked in one of these councils and I’ve seen the inside of enough others to know that they have so many things they should be doing with their time than being Big Brother for the rest of is. I’m not that interested in what other people may or may not be getting away with: my main interest is how fairly the Council treats me and other average people. I’ve reason enough to think that there are occasions when Local Authorities don’t act with honesty and integrity.

This ‘naming and shaming’ business is very provocative and not the line anyone should really be taking. But if Dublin decides to go that route, we may have to have to have a go ourselves...

30 Jan 2007
I did a crude calculation the other day which suggested that a huge chunk of the development which occurred along the M50 (Citywest, etc.) not to mention hundreds of low-rise apartment buildings in places like Chapelizod could have been accommodated in the area which was redeveloped as part of the Dublin Dockland scheme. The opportunity was missed. And this is one big reason why Dublin is in the mess its now in. Briefly, the Dublin Dockland Development Authority was set up in 1997 by Act of Parliament and given the task of drawing up a master plan for the regeneration of practically the whole east end of Dublin which, at that time, was in various states of dereliction.
30 Jan 2007
Regarding the discussion on Part V of the Planning Act in the last Dispatch, I got this from Fine Gael Cllr. Katie Ridge in Kildare ‘Have just had a glance… on your piece on Social and Affordable housing under part V of the PDA 2000-2004. To add insult to injury; the Part V requirements are NOT mandatory for locations that do not require a Local Area Plan i.e. locations with a population of less than 2,000. E.g the townland of Ardclough in my electoral area {North Kildare} is… not zoned land and no Part V compliance arises (despite the fact that it is approx 15 miles from O' Connell Bridge…). … We need to focus on the spirit of the legislation i.e. the provision of housing units and move away from the now multiple sidestepping that the Act provides for.’
30 Jan 2007

Hi guys. How sustainable are you all? That was the question a colleague – in all seriousness and without any irony - put to me last week. I found myself stuck because the obvious ‘I’m actually unsustainable’ is not a funny answer.

Anyway, I’m afraid that How Sustainable Are You might turn out to be the question of the season, so I’m looking for some clever replies.   Therefore, I announce the first official Planning Dispatch competition. When someone asks you how sustainable you are, what do you reply? Answers by email to info@garrymiley.com 

Runner up gets free Ryanair flights to the marvellous new eco resort in the Maldives.  Winner gets guaranteed, same day validation on any planning application in a county of your choice.     

Seriously, if we want to make progress in the area of energy, transport and planning efficiency we’ve got to start using terms which aren’t so loaded. For people like me, when we hear the word ‘sustainable’ we see wigwams.

12 Jan 2007
A couple decided to build an extension to the rear of their modest terraced home, close to the centre of one of our larger cities. A planning application was made to the relevant authority and in due course approved. The work involved the construction of a simple, single storey, double height element tucked neatly away into the back garden where it couldn’t be seen. Work began on site. A few weeks into the project, a curious neighbour stopped by and by quizzing the contractor discovered that a small change was being made to the original design: the client made a last minute decision to insert a mezzanine level into the double height space to make a library or some such.
12 Jan 2007
I’m curious to learn more about so called Part V of the Planning and Development Act. Architects, planners and developers are familiar with this element of the legislation but I was surprised over the Christmas break to discover that few ‘lay people’ know what it’s about.
12 Jan 2007
In the last Dispatch, I talked a bit about the Marbella style marina proposed for Greystones, County Wicklow. Since then, the developer (Sispar) and Wicklow County Council have put a revised scheme on public display. So far so not interesting. What is interesting is the fact that Greystones Protection and Development Association placed an ad in last week’s Irish Times seeking a suitable candidate to stand on the issue in the next general election. I haven’t sent in my CV just yet, but I am EXTREMELY tempted. If there’s anyone else out there who feels they’re up to the job, please contact the GPDA and save me from my fate.