Posted on May 20, 2013 5:38 PM   |   Permanent Link   

Dublin Bay North Labour TD Seán Kenny has welcomed the clear reminder to local authorities that Minister Jan O'Sullivan will invoke her legal powers to clamp down on poor planning decisions at local level.

"This week, in a circular sent to all local authorities, the Minister gave notice of her intent to invoke her Section 31 powers in all cases where initial Departmental opinions on proposed development plans and local area plans are ignored or not given serious consideration."

"I welcome this reminder issued by Minister O'Sullivan - I know that in the past nine months Minister O'Sullivan has used her powers under Section 31 of the Planning and Development Act on three occasions to overturn decisions contrary to good planning, when plans reflecting national and regional planning policy were effectively ignored. The specific issues involved zoning for development on flood plains, in areas physically isolated from the town and zoning that threatened wildlife habitats. In the 10 years before Minister O'Sullivan took office just eight such directions were issued, and it is good to see such an active Minister in this area where so much has gone so badly wrong over the past decade."

"Minister O'Sullivan's Department provides legally required observations on all development plans and local area plans. This process ensures that these plans reflect national and regional planning policy. Among the other initiatives the Minister has overseen is Government approval to draft legislation to establish an independent planning regulator - the key planning recommendation of the Mahon Tribunal, as well as significant rationalisation of residentially zoned land for approximately 500,000 houses adopted during the boom. She has also overseen as Minister new guidelines for development contributions and retail planning that gives a positive bias to development of town and city centres, as opposed to 'out-of-town' development and consolidation of all primary and secondary planning legislation - to ensure that the public and professionals can access all planning legislation in one place."