Friday 23 August 2019

Culture of planning objections 'born out of fear', says Murphy

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Collins
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Collins

Marese McDonagh

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has hit out at an "objection culture" affecting the rising number of planning applications received, while the Government grapples with the homelessness crisis.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has hit out at an "objection culture" affecting the rising number of planning applications received, while the Government grapples with the homelessness crisis.

He said the objection culture was "born out of fear, but a lot of the time that fear is unfounded".

Mr Murphy said that while it was important to protect proper sustainable development, "I think people who are fortunate to live in a home and own a home should recognise that other people want to have that comfort and security as well".

Speaking to reporters at the annual conference of the Irish Planning Institute in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, the minister said "vexatious" objections were "one of the most serious challenges we face".

He said that later this year he would be bringing forward further reforms around the judicial review process, which would "help us move forward with strategic infrastructure in a timely fashion while removing the scope for vexatious complaints".

He said the reforms would relate to third-party objections and to the timeline for objections.

Asked whether this was prompted by Apple's controversial withdrawal from Athenry following legal objections, Mr Murphy said: "Partly. That is part of it, but it actually encompasses much greater aspects of planning as well."

He said people making objections rather than observations on a planning file could lead to developments being affected.

"People appealing decisions can lead to very lengthy delays," added the minister.

Addressing the issue of housing density, he said it meant more homes.

It also means higher buildings, "but it does not mean skyscrapers on every street".

Irish Independent

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