Planning process and judicial review

 

Sir, – Pat Leahy and Arthur Beesley note that restrictions to the right to access the courts is to be a feature of the new Planning Act (“Planning process set for major review by Attorney General”, News, June 24th).

That this outcome is being predetermined shows how out of touch the Government is from the citizen.

To silence the voice of the citizen, by denying the right to appeal a planning decision, as the strategic housing development (SHD) process does now, is unjustifiable and unjust. It leaves the citizens with the complex judicial review process as the only place to make their voices heard.

To remove the right of the citizen to the courts is autocratic and fundamentally offensive to society.

Government should look at the reasons for the use of judicial review, which is due to decisions by An Bord Pleanála, mandated by ministerial directives, that overturn area development plans. This undermines the citizens’ trust in the planning system.

The vast majority of strategic housing development of recent times include “material contraventions” of development plans. This makes local development plans entirely irrelevant to planning decisions. Hence the reviews.

Finally, there is no evidence that planning has ever interfered with the supply of housing, as statistics from the last 50 years prove. – Yours, etc,

ROBIN MANDAL,

Dublin 6.

Sir, – The Government’s streamlining of planning laws seems to be a case of “shoot the messenger”.

Legal challenges to housing projects are bound to proliferate when so many proposals are developer-led, unimaginative, and insensitive both to our built heritage and local environments. – Yours, etc,

TRICIA CUSACK,

Greystones,

Co Wicklow.