“Planners group welcomes IBEC report on planning ”
“We welcome the publication today of the views on planning from IBEC who represent an important stakeholder in the overall planning process” said Mr Joe Corr, President of the Irish Planning Institute (IPI)
The Report welcomes the appointment of a Planning Regulator and sets out its hopes for the role of that Office in streamlining plan making and the co-ordination of resources with the planning system.
Mr Corr said “The IPI has been advocating the appointment of the Regulator for many years and was pleased to note IBEC’s support for that appointment The Regulator represents s a generational change for the Planning System and will take some time to have full effect.
It is important that the Regulator, who was only appointed in late December is given time and space to get the office on a solid footing that can influence and effect change. We would caution therefore about recommending changes at this point to the designated functions around plan making, review and education before adequate time has been allowed”.
Mr Corr continued ”our planning system is a complex mix of checks and balances that has evolved as such for good reason. While it does need change, and the Regulator will have a strong role in that regard, bringing a weight of authority and independence to decision making on change, the ultimate decisions on change are made by the Government though the Minister, rather than the Regulator.””
Mr Corr noted also comments in the IBEC report on the CPO process as a component of planning complication “We would certainly welcome any sustainable initiative to speed Compulsory Purchase but not at the expense of removing the constitutional right for fair hearing. It is the arbitration process that takes such a long time and we believe that should be the focus of any move for change”.
Mr Corr noted the recommendation of the Report for the development of a CPD programme for Local Authority Planners. “The IPI has been working with Government for some time on the creation of a Register of Planners which we hope will be established in the near future. As the largest professional membership organisation for Planners, the IPI has a comprehensive a CPD programme which is now compulsory for all Corporate IPI members and fellows”
Finally Mr Corr referred to a major survey the IPI undertook in the summer of 2018 following the launch of Project Ireland 2040. Local authorities across the country collectively need to bolster their Planning Departments by a minimum of 80 planners to meet the additional workloads required under Project Ireland 2040. “The IPI is calling on the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government to adopt a strategic approach to the recruitment of Planners across all grades in the Local Authority System. Current systems operated by the Public Appointment System are too long and too cumbersome for both Local Authorities and Planners seeking to work in Local Authority Planning Departments”