Results of Planning Survey 2008
Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Survey Shows Sligo County Council Provides Best Planning Service and Clare County Council Provides Poorest Planning Service
Sligo County Council was rated as having the highest level of satisfaction with management of planning applications. Clare County Council had the lowest level of satisfaction with planning practices. This was according to the survey RIAI Planning Practices & Members Survey commissioned by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes.
80% of architects feel that planning decisions taken are not supportive of good quality design in the built environment.
President of the RIAI, Sean Ó Laoire said,
“There are considerable variations in planning practices from one Local Authority to another. This lack of consistency is wasting the resources of architects who have lodged planning applications as well as that of the local authorities themselves. The survey results show that we are not in a position to deliver quality in the built environment with current planning practices”.
The greatest criticism which emerged (held by 17% of respondents) was that planners in Local Authorities are under qualified or under trained.
Survey findings include:
- 62% of respondents feel that the primary responsibility for planning process improvements lies with the Department of the Environment;
- 58% of respondents in the rest of Leinster area agreed that inconsistent advice at pre-planning meetings results in unnecessary redesign because of request for further information;
- 86% feel the system is not well positioned to cope with changes regarding energy performance, accessibility and sustainability.
The survey showed 51% of architects are concerned about Local Authorities not providing an on-the-spot validation service. Just 14% suggest that the Local Authorities that they have dealt with in the last two years provided an on-the-spot validation service.
Mr. Ó Laoire explained, “After the passage of the 2000 Planning Act, a system of checking planning applications for compliance with submission requirements – to ensure better quality applications – was introduced and this is referred to as validation. However, in reality, the validation process has proven to be more time consuming and expensive for many applicants and the Local Authorities than the actual planning permission process itself”.
In general, high levels of on-the-spot validation service provision equate to high levels of satisfaction with the management of planning applications (e.g. Sligo Co. Council; Limerick Co. Council). However this is not always necessarily the case – 41% of those dealing with Clare County Council claim it provides an on-the-spot validation service, but overall satisfaction levels with this Local Authority is 38%.
Opinion is almost evenly divided as to whether the six year timescale for future statutory development planning is adequate. Almost three quarters of the 41% suggesting this timescale is inadequate and feel it should be longer, at on average 16 years in total.
The survey included a total of 392 respondents, all RIAI members. The survey found that approximately one third of all planning applications made by RIAI members are done through Local Authorities within the Dublin region. A further 26% are made through Munster Local Authorities, 22% across the remaining Local Authorities in Leinster, with the balance 20% made at Local Authorities within Connaught / Ulster.