PLANNING – Locals only rule is now against E.U. law

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The Log House Company website has a Planning section with concise guidelines on the subject. Dept. of Environment, Heritage & Local Government gives a clear overview of the planning system and its legislation. The most relevant legislation is The Planning & Development Act 2000.On this web site also you will find a complete list of the City, Borough, Town and County Planning Authorities. The most important document in relation to any development is the Development Plan. You can read this or buy it at your local Planning Authority office.

There are 2 positive things about planning in Ireland. One is that you can apply for a planning permission yourself, without the necessity of an architect, though this is a freedom that might be taken away in the future. The other is that the appeals board An Bord Pleanala is one of the only independent appeals boards in Europe.

You will see the word sustainable used a lot in both Regional & Local Development Plans. When you see this word – substitute; short term, lack of infrastructure, serious future social problems, allowing plans and zoning to suit developers, etc. etc.
Here’s an example of so called sustainable:
“The people of Arklow, one of Co. Wicklow’s designated growth centres, have been relying on tankers for their drinking water since the fluoridation plant broke down six months ago. And although hundreds of new houses are being built there, the town still has no sewage treatment plant. Raw sewage pours into the Avoca river.” – Irish Times 2010

All planning roads lead to the developer and the housing estate or apartment block with the excuse that the country should be used only for rural activities. Though ribbon development and bungalow blitz has a negative effect on the countryside, the planners haven’t solved the problem; they have just made it more difficult for people to build on their own plot. Just recently I saw a planning application where the applicants birth cert, his mothers birth cert and a local school report were included in his application in order to prove that he was a local. In the Co. Wicklow Development Plan they will consider an application from a person seeking permission on a plot 8km from their birthplace. Just this week The European Commission formally confirmed that it is investigating whether certain planning conditions, including some local authorities’ insistence that those applying to build a house must have local connections, is contrary to EU law.

The Log House Company feels that there should have been a system of small hamlets set up in rural areas and villages. There are many alternative and sustainable solutions out there. The Village in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary is an alternative sustainable solution. Many forward thinking builders, designers and architects feel that the planning authorities are inadequate and that there should be a separate Planning Dept set up.

Former minister Dick Roche had a detrimental affect on the environment. The amazing thing is that the same people who complained about planning, the environment and heritage are the same people who voted him back into the Dail in the recent election. Strange country. Of course voting for Beverly sends a message that corruption is ok. Very strange country this.

John Gormley the new minister will have a hard job on his hands trying to do something positive with a planning system that continues to hand the reins to greedy developers that think its ok to build sprawling estates with no infrastructure except a shopping mall – the religious centre to the great God – Capitalism.

Eamon Murray

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