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
Uploaded by Brendan Buck, Member of the Irish Planning Institute and Managing Director of BPS Planning Consultants LTD
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