Tuesday 17 September 2019

Call for regulation review

WEXFORD councillors have called for a review of the planning regulation that allows Government agencies to build developments without having to apply to the local authority for planning permission.

Their concern about ' Part 9' of the Planning Act was heightened recently by an Office of Public Works decision to proceed with the building of a new Wexford Courthouse on the Municipal Buildings site despite strong objections from local residents.

Cllr Anthony Kelly (Sinn Féin) tabled a motion at a Borough Council meeting calling on the Government to review the procedure, calling it 'a most undemocratic piece of legislation.'

'Recent controversies over certain buildings have shown that Part 9 renders us useless in relation to this type of planning. I sincerely hope it is amended,' said Cllr Kelly, who suggested that ' Part 8', which allows local authorities to build projects without having to go through the normal planning process, should also be reviewed. He was supported by Cllr Fergie Kehoe (Fianna Fáil) who said he felt the public should have a choice about what happens in all planning processes.

Cllr Kehoe said 'Part 9' takes away from the responsibilities of councillors and allows decisions to be made ' behind closed doors'.

He added that people should be able to appeal to An Bord Pleanála if they have a grievance about something being built in their area.

About 'Part 8', Director of services Adrian Doyle said: 'You want to give your powers to An Bord Pleanala. That doesn't make sense.'

Cllr Kehoe said it might be better to exclude 'Part 8' from the motion. Cllr Kelly said he was willing to take the manager's advice on 'Part 8'.

The motion calling for a review of ' Part 9' was carried, with Cllr Anna Fenlon (Fine Gael) abstaining.

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