Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Select Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government

Planning and Development (Amendment) (Large-scale Residential Development) Bill 2021: Committee Stage

Photo of Cian O'CallaghanCian O'Callaghan (Dublin Bay North, Social Democrats) | Oireachtas source

I move amendment No. 15:

In page 6, between lines 16 and 17, to insert the following:
"(i) the information sought under this section shall be published online on the planning authority website within five working days receipt of this information.".

I will go through these relatively quickly. Amendment No. 15 seeks that information on pre-planning should be published online not when an application goes in but within a number of days of the local authority receiving it. That is important for the pre-planning stage to work well, and there must be some engagement with the local community. Some of the information and knowledge from the local community that is important in larger planning applications should be brought into the process at that stage. Often with a large site or development, the local community has knowledge of it that the planners in the council may not. The developer or its consultants may not have the knowledge either. Sometimes this relates to water courses or potential landslides, for example. There are many issues on which a local community may have knowledge and the developer or the local authority may not. These are not matters of detailed design, as would be dealt with in the main process, but they are overarching questions that should be addressed at a pre-planning stage. If there is no ability for a local community to know pre-planning is ongoing, how on Earth would it be able to raise any big, overarching or strategic matters at that point if, effectively, it is a secret or non-public process? That is amendment No. 15.

Other amendments are in a similar vein. Amendment No. 18 allows for public and not just community organisations to make submissions at a pre-planning stage. Amendment No. 22 would make sure the minutes of pre-planning were online within a number of days of the process being concluded and not just when the application goes in. Again, that is for reasons of transparency.

Amendment No. 26 states that the LRD opinion should be published online within five days of it being issued. I have even provided an alternative solution to that in amendment No. 27 in case the Minister does not like my suggestion of the wording around five days. Amendment No. 27 is a direct alternative to amendment No. 26.

Amendment No. 17 should be particularly easy for the Minister to agree to. It simply specifies that a planning authority or local authority may consult with community organisations as well as people, who are specified but not mandated in the amendment. That is a particularly easy one to agree with.


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