Wednesday, 18 April 2012

An Taisce report - The legacy of a broken system

Even though the An Taisce planning report reminds us all of issues we might like to forget, it cannot be ignored.

It reminds us of how failure at every level of our planning process — regulators, officials and most especially politicians — let down those who trusted them to make decisions aimed at the common good.

Foolish us. These are the "catastrophic and systemic failures" that led to bizarre — and that is a kind way to describe it — over-zoning decisions, ghost estates and, too often, the whiff of corruption.

It is no coincidence that the county councils with the worst planning records also have dismal records on residential vacancy, the highest rate of decline and outward migration, the highest levels of unfinished ghost estates, lower residential property prices, and significant ground and surface water pollution. Surely it is time to put in place a mechanism to quickly remove management who fail so dramatically.

It is also time the recommendation, that Environment Minister Phil Hogan "immediately recommence independent inquiries" into seven councils suspended by him in favour of an internal review, be acted upon. The whole planning process stinks to high heaven and this blocking move just adds to the stench. If Mr Hogan does not like the idea, then it is time for Taoiseach Enda Kenny to intervene. We have had far too much questionable behaviour in this area and Mr Hogan’s intrusion only adds to those suspicions.

The suggestions of a site valuation tax instead of a residential property tax and an independent planning authority have real merit too and must be considered.

Read the article @ The Irish Examiner

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