Tuesday 28 June 2022


 This is the official response of the Irish Planning Institute to matters arising at An Bord Pleanála:

The Irish Planning Institute notes with concern recent events and media coverage regarding An Bord Pleanála, which have the potential to damage the reputation of planning and planners and erode the public’s confidence in the planning system in Ireland.
Since 1977 An Bord Pleanála has played a critical and confidence-building role in the Irish planning system by providing affordable, impartial and transparent reviews of local planning decisions. Its success in delivering on its original core role inevitably led to an expectation that its mission could be expanded into new areas. While some new roles have been successfully absorbed, others such as Strategic Housing Developments, have compromised the integrity and robustness of the processes and decision-making in the Board, and undermined a fundamental aspect of the Irish Planning System.  This is evidenced by the marked increase since 2017 of Judicial Reviews, many of which have related to Strategic Housing Developments, and were caused largely by a combination of complexity and confusion around the process, and the frustration of communities and other stakeholders at the loss of access to a planning appeal on decisions for this type of development.
While the Institute does not wish to comment on any ongoing investigations and welcomes the intention of the Office of the Planning Regulator to initiate its own review of processes and procedures in the Board, the Institute believes that these reviews must be completed thoroughly and without any undue delay. The reviews must also consider the procedures of appointment of Board Members, the independence of the inspectorate in its decision-making and any conflicts of interest in governance protocols. In all of this it is important to appreciate the many years of service to society provided by current and former Board members.  And it is vital to recognise and protect the expertise, independence and integrity of the highly-skilled professional planners of the Board’s inspectorate and the contribution they have made to a fair and transparent planning system and a more sustainable Ireland. It is imperative that public confidence in the Board and its critical role in Irish society is restored and reinforced.”

This statement is available from the Irish Planning Institute 

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Bulloch Harbour plan appeal will not go to oral hearing

 A formal request for an oral hearing into contentious plans for Dalkey’s Bulloch Harbour has been rejected by An Bord Pleanála. The planned scheme is the subject of a long-running battle between developers, Bartra, and Dalkey residents, including broadcaster Pat Kenny. The Newstalk presenter is the most prominent opponent of the scheme and has urged Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to refuse planning permission on multiple grounds in a joint objection with wife, Kathy. The Kennys said the mixed-use development would change Bulloch Harbour’s “welcoming ambience utterly, forever”. In February, they welcomed the council’s “common sense approach” in refusing permission.

Read the full article @ The Irish Times

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An Bord Pleanála ‘compromised’, claim planners

 Fast-track planning laws to speed up delivery of large housing schemes have “compromised” An Bord Pleanála, the professional body for planners has said. In a statement on the controversy swirling around An Bord Pleanála, the Irish Planning Institute also called for the way board appointments are made to the planning appeals authority to be scrutinised. “It is imperative that public confidence in the board and its critical role in Irish society is restored and reinforced,” said institute president Dr Conor Norton, an academic at TU Dublin. Allegations of impropriety against An Bord Pleanála’s deputy chairman Paul Hyde have led to a senior counsel’s inquiry being ordered by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, a separate internal board review and a looming examination of the authority’s procedures by the Office of the Planning Regulator.

Read the full article @ The Irish Times

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An Bord Pleanála to consent to order quashing its approval for €70m Kildare wind farm

 An Bord Pleanála has indicated it will consent to an order quashing its permission for a €70 million wind farm in Co Kildare, the High Court has heard. Local resident Lorraine Quinn and environmental NGO Eco Advocacy CLG brought a judicial review challenge against the board’s approval in September 2020 for the 12-turbine development at Drehid, near Carbury. The court heard on Monday that the board would no longer be contesting the action. Barrister John Kenny said there remained a conflict between his client, developer North Kildare Wind Farm Group, and the applicants as to whether the planning application should be remitted to the planning board. The developer, a notice party in the proceedings, hopes to see its planning application remitted for fresh consideration and wants a short hearing for determination of this issue, Mr Kenny added. He asked the judge to refrain from making an order of certiorari while this question remained.

Read the full article @ The Irish Times

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Plans for redevelopment of Penneys Cork City store delayed

Plans for the redevelopment of Penneys' flagship store in the heart of Cork City have been delayed following an appeal. While planning permission was granted last month the decision is now being appealed by a third party. The plans included an increase in the store size by 17,000 sq ft to 54,000 sq ft, with the project encompassing a site that stretches from Robert St to Cook St, and from St Patrick's Street to Oliver Plunkett St. The expanded outlet will take in a substantial portion of the city’s main street, absorbing almost the entire block stretching back to Oliver Plunkett St. When announced last year, the proposal was welcomed and seen as a positive boost for the city’s prime shopping street which has been left reeling by the departure of a number of high-profile stores including Debenhams, Oasis, Warehouse, and Laura Ashley.

Read the full story @ The Irish Examiner

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