New planning regulator to be established

New planning regulator to be established

Postby onq » Tue May 07, 2013 3:19 pm

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/environm ... -1.1385028

New planning regulator to be established

Independent body will review and assess all forward planning functions by local authorities

The Government is to establish a new body to regulate planning, it was announced today.

The Department of the Environment said in a statement the Cabinet had approved proposals to draft the Planning and Development Bill.

It said the establishment of the body was in response to the recommendations of the Mahon tribunal, which issued its final report in March 2012.

The report of the tribunal found that corruption continued at length in the planning system because it “affected every level of Irish political life” and “those with the power to stop it were frequently implicated in it”.

Minister for Housing & Planning Jan O’Sullivan said: “The Government has given its commitment to implement the recommendations of the Mahon Tribunal and today’s decision represents a milestone in that regard”.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said: “The implementation of this important recommendation is another tangible reform that will achieve the Government’s goal of restoring and maintaining public confidence in our planning system.”

He said the independent regulator will review and assess all forward planning functions by local authorities- such as the drafting of city and county development plans. The regulator will also have the power to advise the minister to reject or overturn part or all of a plan “where it is not up to scratch”, Mr Hogan added.

“ This advice will be published. The final decision to act will rest with the Minister of the day, and the Minister will be accountable to the Oireachtas for his or her decision”.

It is understood this new planning regulator’s office will be staffed and resourced largely by staff taken on secondment or on a permanent basis from An Bord Pleanala.
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Re: New planning regulator to be established

Postby onq » Tue May 07, 2013 3:33 pm

I would have preferred if Minister Hogan had let the several independent investigations into Planning Authorities set up under John Gormley continue to their conclusion.

Instead under the guise of "cutbacks" Hogan shut them down.

Now he is engaging in this kind of flag waving approach - "a new person in a new position" - which will eventually leave the ball back in his court, having passed through a control point staffed with former planning élite insiders.

To be blunt I expected more from the Mahon Report than this kind of shuffling of deckchairs on the Titanic long after the ship hit the iceberg.

If there is any upside, this suggests a layer of governance in planning matters over and above the County Managers and the Councillors who were prone to making corrupt or at best unwise decisions.

Whether the blight will spread to the new position is unknown, but citing "Ministerial Accountability" as the backstop to the new regime in the aftermath of the Bank Guarantee Scheme and Promissory Note Scandals is not the Cornucopia of Assurance Minister Hogan might think it is.
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Re: New planning regulator to be established

Postby esterelle » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:21 pm

The new Planning Regulator to be established is just another publicity stunt by Phil Hogan and the Government. It will be simply be giving An Bord Pleanala additional powers in relation to Land Use Zoning. The big difficulty with Planning in Ireland at this moment is not being addressed at all. The Government need to take a look at the Local Authorities themselves (the Executive Branch) and An Bord Pleanala. These are the folks who granted permission for all the excessive development in Ireland during the boom years and this is never mentioned. The County Managers and the Chair of the Appeals Board should be hauled before a Dail Committee and asked to explain themselves. It was not the County Councillors who made the decisions on Planning Applications and nobody has been held to account for these decisions. Its high time that those responsible were exposed and not given an enhanced role in the future Planning of this country disguised as a Planning Regulator.
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Re: New planning regulator to be established

Postby Barry Hall » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:50 am

''It was not Councillors who made decisions on Planning Applications.'' Please ! It was the Councillors who rezoned the land in swathes (usually against the recommendation of the Forward Planners) & thereby tied the hands of Development Control and An Bord Pleanala. By the same token the blanket term 'Planners' in this context also covers Engineers and other associated professionals who worked as Planners in many Local Authorities without any formal training or qualificiaton in purely planning matters. County Managers I would accept were often remiss and at the height of the boom seemed more pre-occupied with the Authority's rates base and development contributions than they were with 'proper planning and sustainable development.'
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Re: New planning regulator to be established

Postby StephenC » Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:29 pm

I think some people need to see that Prime Time Investigates programme from a couple of years back again...the one with all those gombeen County Councillors zoning like their lives depended on it...Monaghan featured strongly.

If i remember rightly that was just after the big floods in 2010?
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Re: New planning regulator to be established

Postby esterelle » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:03 pm

Stephen C is missing my point. Politicians have a role in Local Government to rezone lands. Local Authority Planners and An Bord Pleanala have the role of deciding whether or not these lands are developed and to what density. The people who granted the permissions had access to all historical information in relation to flooding etc. It should be borne in mind that Local Authorities are currently stuffed with Planners of all grades. The same number roughly as when the Country went through the boom. What are they doing. I believe that this Government want to reduce the Local Authority and An Bord Pleanala pay bill by finding some other role for these people. So they have come up with the idea of a Planning Regulator composed of the very people who were involved in granting developments which were not necessary. County Councils are the people charged with determining demand for residential accommodation and they have access to CSO and other data to assist them in this. Its not rocket science, in fact its just common sense. Self Regulation has proven to be a disaster in the past. Just look at the Legal Profession, the Gardaí, the Bankers. The workload in An Bord Pleanala is getting very light so a role must be found for these Planners many of whom are grossly overpaid. So I would say to Phil Hogan and Enda Kenny please ponder over this Regulator Post and Office for a while and look to Independent sources of Regulation for Planners and Planners decisions in Ireland. The problem lies with the Executive rather than the County Councillors who have a short shelf life if they misbehave. They can be judged by the electorate and they will be this coming May. No such method exists for culling errant Planners when they get it wrong.
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