Thursday 24 June 2010

Gormley under fire over planning inquiry

ENVIRONMENT Minister John Gormley yesterday denied Cork City Council had been left in the dark about a probe into its planning policies and those of five other councils.

Mr Gormley told the Irish Independent that several messages had been left with Cork City Council informing them that a review was due to get under way.

Cork city manager Joe Gavin said yesterday that he had received no communication from the Department of the Environment about the review.

Mr Gavin and he was "very disappointed and surprised" at the move, insisting that every aspect of planning in the council was fully in accordance with the law.

Mr Gormley said the aim was to achieve greater consistency in the planning process, to avoid planning decisions which are inconsistent with other local authorities. This had been a big bone of contention, he added.

The councils facing a review are Dublin City, Galway County, Cork City, Cork County, Carlow and Meath.

The relevant managers will be given four weeks to respond to specified issues, after which their replies will be assessed by the expert group, which can make far-reaching recommendations. Individual planning decisions will not be examined.

The six councils are being peer reviewed and the currently unidentified team of experts can call for a full investigation of planning policy.

Joanna Tuffy, Labour's environment spokesperson, said it was unclear what Mr Gormley hoped to achieve by carrying out the review of planning policy in the six councils.

Treacy Hogan and Louise Hogan
Irish Independent

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