AT a time when the Irish planning system is coming in for so much criticism for our property problems this week it received some compliments -- at least indirectly. No less a group than the British Tory Party is considering incorporating some of Ireland's planning practices into the British system.
In particular they are considering following Irish people's love of democracy and the Tories are considering "democratising" the UK process and moving away from what they see as the Labour Party's "dictatorial" approach. In what is considered a controversial move, The Tories would allow third parties such as neighbours, parish council or interest groups to influence the planning process.
The UK's Civic Trust, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and Friends of the Earth are among the supporters of the third-party right of appeal. However, this reform is opposed by developers who fear the interference of extra parties. Indeed it was objections from the latter which lead to the Scottish Government dropping the right of third parties to object. It will be interesting if they learn from at least one of the mistakes in the Irish system which has seen objections submitted from places as far away as Barbados.