Planners, planning and the planning system have a key role to play in the successful delivery of the new Programme for Government, if it receives the go ahead from the three political parties who negotiated it. Much of the detail teased out in the programme will be welcome news to Planners across the planning system.
“As we move to recover our country’s economy, revive our communities and rebuild our society, Planners are especially pleased to note the commitment to the National Planning Framework and the review of the National Development Plan to ensure its consistency with the objectives of the National Planning Framework. We fully support the clear endorsement of spatial strategy, compact growth and balanced regional development expressed in the Draft Programme” said Dr Conor Norton, President of the Irish Planning Institute (IPI). The IPI is the all-island body for professional planners engaged in physical, spatial and environmental planning in Ireland.
Practical measures confirmed in the Draft Programme welcomed by the Irish Planning Institute reflect a commitment to an open and transparent planning system. “The proposed new Planning and Environment Court should streamline many of the legal delays which can be encountered after the Planning process has been completed. The Institute is also keen to further explore further reform to the Planning System with the new Government including a possible enhanced role for Regional Assemblies in the provision of key infrastructure, regeneration and housing.”
“Many of the key initiatives in relation to Housing outlined have been welcomed by Planners as has the enhanced clarity around the role of the new Land Development Agency. Adequately resourced Planning Departments and a Planning Voice in Leadership Teams across Local Government and all agencies engaged with the provision of housing will be essential for the Programme to succeed,” Dr Norton added.
“Planners have long argued for a greater commitment to Climate Action. Major initiatives outlined in the draft programme are very welcome. A clear response from Planners focussed on Sustainable Development is now called for. Development Plans and Local Area Plans will need to respond to the commitments outlined in the Programme ensuring buildings, the built environment and public spaces deliver for their communities.”
“The focus on regenerating our cities, towns and villages through the retention of the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund and the Rural Regeneration Fund is welcome news for Planners across the country. The Institute is keen to work with national and local government to develop planner led regeneration teams to ensure these projects are delivered. Enhanced pedestrian and cycle infrastructure measures provide a much-needed impact on sustainable mobility and healthier places. The greater emphasis on sustainable mobility will need to be carefully planned for at Local Authority Level and Planners have a key role in ensuring this happens,” he added.
Key to success in delivery of the programme will be a coordinated, area based, plan led approach with adequately resourced Planning Departments to secure implementation,” Dr Norton concluded.