This article sets out the argument that developers are placed at excessive risk by the Irish planning system as currently devised. The view of many would be that the significant departure made since 2015 from 'rules based planning' system towards a more 'suck it and see' type planning system is the problem. It would suit all parties for development plans to be much more specific as to what is allowed where, etc. The national statutory "guidance" documents aimed at de-regulating planning (no height rules, almost no density rules, no minimum car parking rules, movable open space standards, etc.) have served to make the planning process more risky. Perhaps the Department and the Office of the Planning Regulator could work together to move the planning system to a less risky system over the coming years. The red herring of judicial review is not the issue. Judicial reviews arose from the removal of a right to appeal decisions which, for the most part, significantly materially contravened development plans in which communities had, up to around 2015, trusted.
In the current system, we, planning consultants, are asked what we think might be achievable on a site. Why is this something that cannot just be look up on the development plan and its maps? Why is the range so wide? Because we have created casino planning. In this environment, every planning application is forced to "take a chance". Planning consultants are forced to argue in many cases for schemes which prior to 2015 would not ever have passed pre-planning stage and local authority and An Bord Pleanála planners are required to play along. Almost every case ends up at An Bord Pleanála because of systemic problems.
Here is an excerpt from the article: