Wednesday 20 March 2019

Bord delays frustrate the delivery of housing, says TD O'Brien

Darragh O'Brien
Darragh O'Brien

John Manning

Delays at An Bord Pleanála are getting in the way of the delivery of much needed housing, according to a local TD and his party's spokesperson on housing.

Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson Darragh O'Brien has stated additional steps are needed to address the rapidly worsening delays in An Bord Pleanála.

An answer to a parliamentary question has confirmed, according to Deputy O'Brien, that the completion rate for reaching a final decision on a planning application within the 18 week statutory time frame has fallen from 79% in 2016 to 64% in 2017 to 38% of cases currently up to the end of October 2018.

Deputy O'Brien reacted to the figures, saying: 'Under the Planning and Development Act 2000, An Bord Pleanála has a statutory objective to determine planning appeals within 18 weeks. However we are witnessing rapidly escalating delays with the legal timeframe completion rate collapsing by over half over the past two years. This is despite government promises on additional resources being enough to meet the increased workload on the organisation.

"Last week, I raised this issue in the Dáil with the Minister as the mounting delays are becoming more and more evident. I have been contacted by several builders about undue delays that are frustrating their plans to put bricks and mortar in the ground.

'These lengthening delays are hiking up costs for builders and preventing badly needed homes from being delivered.

'This, in the midst of a national housing crisis, is unacceptable.'

Deputy O'Brien suggested a way forward, saying: 'There are a number of quick measures that the Minister should take to address delays.

'He should quickly move to expand the number of board members and reduce the quorum for decisions on smaller developments in order to expedite decision making.'

The local TD concluded: 'Additional staff and resources should also be rolled out quickly in order to ensure An Bord Pleanála is fully equipped to undertake its role in addressing the housing crisis.'

Fingal Independent