Thursday 17 July 2008

Too much politics in planning - architects

CLARE County Council was yesterday named as providing the worst planning service in the country.

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) claimed that less than 40pc of its members were happy with the service provided in Clare, compared to Sligo County Council's 62.3pc satisfaction rate.

But the findings of a survey of 327 architects were rubbished by the Banner County's senior executive planner, John Bradley, who said it was based on just 5pc of all planning applications received in the two-year period under review. A satisfaction survey by the council returned a 70pc approval rating.

"Bald statement made like this can damage our reputation," he said.

"Insufficient documentation or poorly prepared planning submissions are a problem for us. To pick out Clare was disingenuous, to put it mildly."

The survey, published yesterday, shows that architects believe there is too much political interference in the planning process and that local councillors are forcing planners to approve particular developments.

Some 80pc also believe that planning decisions are not taken on the basis of good design, and that there are considerable variations across local authorities on how planning laws are applied.

"This lack of consistency is wasting the resources of architects," RIAI President Sean O'Laoire said.

Irish Independent

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