AN BORD Pleanalá’s handsome looking annual report for 2008 contained no great surprises. The workload was down 16 per cent on the previous bumper year; there was a 20 per cent drop in the number of appeals dealt with in relation to one-off houses in rural areas and the percentage of local authority planning decisions appealed to the board showed an increase of 8.1 per cent compared to 6.7 per cent in 2007.
The rate of reversal of local planning authority decisions appealed showed a slight increase, 33 per cent in 2008 compared to 32 per cent in 2007.
The board met its statutory objective in dealing with appeals within 18 weeks in less than 50 per cent of cases – that doesn’t sound like something to boast about but the report sees it as a positive in that the previous year it only met the 18-week target in less than a quarter of the cases.
It says that “excessive and unsustainable zoning of land has been a contributor to the property bubble and its aftermath” and that “some of this land will have to be rezoned”.
Presenting the report, the chairperson of the board, John O’Connor, said that “it would be extremely short-sighted if there was a tendency to relax good planning standards in response to our current economic difficulties”. A reader from Mars might deduce from that that planning standards during the loadsamoney boom were fantastic. The number of ghost estates dotted around the country, the ugly holiday villages and empty apartment blocks tell a different story.