‘Are planning laws failing us?’ asks Brendan Slattery

In the article, the writer mentions two previous unsuccessful strategic housing decisions [Marlet/536 homes in Raheny and Burkeway Homes/197 homes in Bearna, Galway]. This is significant as these strategic housing decisions reflect a 100% failure rate before the High Court. According to Brendan Slattery, decisions on more than 8,000  homes will be made by An Bord Pleanála in the coming three months and he maintains that “the reasons for the three revocations so far had nothing to do with the accelerated planning process, and were very specific to the facts of each case”. 

It is important that, as an industry, we start talking about this now as the Housing Minister will soon decide whether or not to preserve this accelerated process for housing. It is widely accepted that a fast-track process of some kind is necessary to deliver our Rebuilding Ireland targets of 25,000 new homes annually by 2020. We know that  more than 100 applications have been made to An Bord Pleanála to date, and about 10,000 homes have been granted permission. Critically, according to the above article, every one of those permissions was granted within the 16 week deadline. 

On a practical basis, any strategic housing issue surfaces quickly through the expedited court procedure. For example, Marlet lost its permission within three months and Cairn Homes lost theirs within five months, as compared with the controversial Apple data centre application in Athenry, which took close to three years for the Supreme County to uphold the decision of An Bord Pleanála. While that particular planning debacle highlighted a number of failings within the system, vested interests are shown to be a primary example of abuse of the public consultation process, and the writer recommends that we “expose the shake-downs, rather than tar all complaints with that brush”.

You can read the full article here and, as always, we welcome your thoughts and experiences about this. 

Ian Lawlor
086 3625482

Director / Business Development
Lotus Investment Group