Dublin People

‘Unacceptable’ that 29,000 units are awaiting ABP decision, says Senator

It is “unacceptable” that there are nearly 29,000 units in large developments awaiting approval from An Bord Pleanala, says Independent Senator Victor Boyhan.

Senator Boyhan was speaking last week following the publication of The Annual Construction Sector Report which found that last year 59 percent of applications filed with ABP as a Strategic Housing Development did not receive a decision.

There are currently 28,786 units waiting for a ruling.

The figures were confirmed the same day that the Department of Housing published its draft Planning and Development Bill to change the way the planning system operates.

The department said that the proposed legislation, if enacted, would bring “greater clarity, consistency, and certainty to how planning decisions are made”.

It added that the Planning and Development Bill 2022 would make the planning system more coherent and user-friendly.

Commenting on the bill, Dun Laoghaire Senator Boyhan, who is a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Planning said that he welcomes the aspect of the bill which would set mandatory time limits on ABP to issue rulings.

“I welcome the proposed statutory mandatory timelines to apply to An Bord Pleanála decisions, citing the current backlog at the bord in administering their statutory functions.

“It is unacceptable and inexcusable,” he says.

“Where ABP fails to make decisions with these timelines, it will be subject to penalty fines.”

Senator Boyhan says he does have “major concerns” regarding “certain aspects” of the bill which affect councillors’ reserved functions during the city and county development plan process.

“It is important that their powers, functions and oversite of local development plans are not eroded.

“City and County Councillors are the guardians of Local Development Plans and are elected by local people in their communities to represent and advocate for those communities.

“Central Government must not be permitted to undermine that special civic engagement and relationship,” he says.

“I support robust citizen engagement in the public planning process, any attempts to frustrate community and resident groups, the environmental pillar or individuals from the option of seeking legal determination or remedy on as a last resort on planning disputes must be challenged and strongly resisted.”

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