Category Archives: Planning

Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Bill June 2012

Firstly I welcome this Bill before the Seanad today. I think that legislation which addresses the area of local government reform has been required for some time and I commend the Government for implementing this legislation.
As we will all be aware, reforming the public sector has been on the political and administrative agenda for some time. In 2008, the Government announced an Efficiency Review which required each Department to examine its overall administrative spending, including that of State bodies/agencies under its remit. The final Report of the Local Government Efficiency Review Group of 2010 contains over 106 recommendations, all of which the Minister Hogan announced last year would be implemented in full.
A number of other reports have also been published outlining the best way to reform the public service including the OECD Review of the Public Service and the Green Paper on Local Government Reform both published in 2008 to name but two. The Programme for Government (2011) draws on many of the recommendations made by these reports, in particular the recommendations to rationalise State bodies/agencies.
The Programme also commits to transferring many of the functions currently being performed by these agencies back to local government and ensuring that all property-related revenues are part of the income stream of local government. This Government has been pro-active in pursuing a comprehensive reform agenda in respect of local government and the wider area of politics including the passing of legislation that introduces gender quotas to increase female representation in national politics and the reform of the corporate donations area.
The Government’s Statement on Public Service Reform from last November sets out the rationale for reducing the total number of State bodies/agencies in existence, and sets out each Department’s target for 2012 which is, ‘a new and expanded programme of State Agency rationalisation’…will involve the rationalisation of 48 such bodies by the end of 2012, with a further 46 to be critically reviewed by June 2012.
The objective of these measures will deliver enhanced service efficiencies, together with ensuring a more focused and democratically accountable Public Service and they are therefore, to be welcomed.
This Bill will facilitate the agency rationalisation programme currently being undertaken by the Department of the Environment and it will reduce the number of agencies operating under the Department’s remit by 43%, from 21 to 12. This is a necessary course of action for the simple reason that we have too many agencies currently carrying out functions that could be done so by a lesser number and in a more efficient manner.
Since taking office last year, Minister Hogan’s department has already taken action in streamlining the functions of a number of bodies under its auspices which has meant that initial savings in the order of €1.9 million have been achieved in the process.
The restructuring of the bodies set up under the Local Government Services (Corporate Bodies) Act of 1971 addressed by this legislation is a direct response to the current economic crisis and a necessary means to reduce overall public sector costs through enhanced efficiencies. This Government is taking action where previous administrations failed to, in reducing public sector spending in respect of state agencies which will result in the provision of more efficient, streamlined public services.
With particular reference to part 2, section 5 of the Bill, line 15 b provides for the provision of services, training, and equipment relating to IT and communications technology. I am curious to know if this will apply to elected local authority members and I ask the Minister if this is the case. Local Authority elected representatives have been advocating training for themselves for a long number of years and I would commend such a legal provision as I think that in a modern day and age where a high level of IT and communication skills are a prerequisite in nearly all fields.
Part, section 5 of the Bill at line 15 c which provides for administration services is also to be welcomed as it a must in today’s highly demanding modern world for adequate administrative supports be provided where it is needed.
Line 15e provides for the promotion of public safety awareness and the organisation of training and safety measures in relation to public safety. This is an important provision and there is a lot of ambiguity among Councils as to how guidelines are interpreted when it comes to certain public safety issues. We need guidelines to be put in place that can be collectively implemented in the same way. Health and safety regulations must be applied in a coherent and consistent manner.
Line 15f of the same section proposes the provision of research, advisory and information services. I am interested in finding out from the minister if this applies to Councillors. It is my belief that this provision should apply to them as the job of a public representative requires that one be informed and knowledgeable on a host of subjects and a great deal of research work has to carried out.

Line g which proposes consultancy and strategic planning services I would suggest be omitted and it can be debated in more detail at committee stage. In this day and age where we all have a range of technologies at our fingertips, research can be carried out independently by all staff and the need for consultants has certainly dwindled. For this reason, I believe the supply of consultants in this respect needs to be downsized.
I welcome the provision in line 15i for the legal underpinning of procurement services and I think it is advisable that these services be centralised in the interest of fairness and efficiency which will give legal provision for the dissolution of the Limerick Regeneration agencies.
It is my understanding from what Minister O’Sullivan said in the last Dáil debate on the legislation that, a new Limerick regeneration office has initially been set up with administrative support from Limerick City Council, but will report directly to the manager-designate of the new unitary authority in Limerick, once appointed.
I think it is a good move in amalgamating the two regeneration agencies into the new unitary authority. Rural members of Limerick Council should have an oversight role in the regeneration projects which are on-going in four areas of Limerick city. The work of the city’s regeneration projects has had far-reaching consequences for many rural parts of county Limerick. Therefore it is only right that public representatives from rural areas of the county, who will be members of the new unitary authority, should input to the project’s future direction.
In relation to section 10 of part 2 of the Bill, I ask the Minister who is to take over the functions of the Fire Services Council and Irish Water Safety, which has done a fantastic job of promoting safe practices in the water for many years.
I note that part 3, section 13 of the Bill provides on a legal basis for the dissolution of an Chomhairle Leabharlanna. I welcome this move as unfortunately, the body had become a talking shop and obsolete in terms of its functions. Its staff can and have been deployed for better purposes elsewhere to Local Authorities.
Part 4, section 17 will allow the Minister to re-appoint an outgoing manager of either Limerick and Tipperary city or county council at the time of the next appointment after the commencement of the 2012 Act provided that the functional area of the joint body in question extends into 2 or more counties or into a city and one or more counties, then such county or city manager as the Minister shall by order appoint shall also be the manager for such joint body. This would apply in the cases of Limerick and Waterford.
Overall, this Bill signifies a step in the direction of wider local government reform. There is a requirement on the part of the Government to continue to abolish unnecessary and superfluous agencies and quangos in an effort to streamline the delivery of services within local government and, ultimately, improve delivery for our customers, the taxpayers.
The pooling of resources and expertise into one agency will save money both in terms of manpower and the procurement services offered until recently by separate agencies and by local government.
The centralisation of local government is a piece in the jigsaw of a larger reform structure in the centralisation of services and procurement processes across all Government sectors in a bid to elicit further savings for the taxpayer. For example, in terms of procurement processes, which have been spearheaded by the Minister of State, Deputy Brian Hayes, in recent months, the reformed framework for managed print services is expected to generate savings of up to €22 million annually and a pilot project regarding e-invoicing across the public sector could lead to further millions in savings by reducing administrative and transactional costs.
It can be difficult for both staff and the wider public to understand that while processes and structures change, even on a radical level, we have to remember that, as a Government and as a service provider, times are changing and we must evolve with them. As a nation, there is a fear of losing the personal touch or of change in terms of reduction in the number of people or agencies providing various services. The reality, of course, is that modern facilities allow us to do a lot more with far less, and we still have the opportunity to make savings for the taxpayer, which must be placed high on the agenda.
While amalgamation means a reduction in the number of people providing a service, it does not mean the quality of the service has to suffer. At local government level, the amalgamation of both Limerick and Tipperary councils, with the suggestion of other amalgamations to follow, presents us with a fairly rare opportunity to realise significant savings for the ratepayers in those counties as well as offering savings to the taxpayer.
In the context of local government reform, the amalgamations of local authorities should not be viewed in isolation. I am certain that future announcements will yield further savings as well as perhaps instilling greater confidence in the ability of local councillors and officials to deliver and to be held accountable.
While we continue to deal with the fallout from the economic crisis, we must be fully aware that the world in which we live is changing at an accelerating rate. That is the reason I believe these changes are essential, both in terms of saving money for the Exchequer and the ability of the Government to deliver on the commitments it made in the programme for Government.

Planning Tribunal Speech April 2012

I welcome the Report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into certain planning matters and payments. It is important that this House provides the necessary time to consider a report of such profound significance for the fundamentals of politics, planning, and public life in Ireland.

The publication of the report last month has brought to finality a process that began in November 1997, when the Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters and Payments was established in response to serious public concern in respect of allegations of corruption relating to the planning process, in particular insofar as this related to the Dublin area.

It has been a long and protracted process that has taken 15 years to complete and has cost over €250m. But I think we can all agree that the workings of the tribunal have had a profound & formative influence on the planning system in Ireland.

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Statement on Unfinished Housing Developments March 2012

At the outset I want to commend the Minister on his proactive approach in dealing with unfinished housing estates since coming into office – just a few months ago – I am referring to his setting up the Advisory Group and the subsequent publication of the report from the Advisory Group, entitled Resolving Ireland’s Unfinished Housing Developments.


The prevalence of these housing developments is a very tangible and concrete remnant of boom- time excess by the previous Government which has left us with a national problem that must be tackled by the present Government.

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Landy’s Lane Knocklyon – planning issues

COMHAIRLE CONTAE ÁTHA CLIATH THEAS
SOUTH DUBLIN COUNTY COUNCIL
MEETING OF RATHFARNHAM AREA COMMITTEE
Tuesday, February 09, 2010

MOTION NO. 20

MOTION: Councillor Cait Keane

“That this Committee discusses with the aid of an up to date planning report the Landy’s Lane site on the Knocklyon Road noting that it has a recent residential Planning permission – and to note an attempt recently by the owner to open a skating/disco rink without necessary planning – also taking into consideration that this site previously was the subject of the erection of an illegal Mast- subsequently refused. That this committee recommends strict enforcement proceedings and continuous inspections on this site.”

REPORT:

Planning History

Details of Application: SD05A/0590
Date Received: 19/07/2005
Application Type: Retention
Submission Type: New Application
Applicant: Hutchison 3G Ireland , Dundrum Business Park
Location: Landy’s Industrial Estate, Knocklyon Road, Knocklyon, Dublin 16
Proposed Development: Erection of a replacement 12.5m high guyed pole on roof carrying 3 no. antenna and 1 no. relocated existing antenna, associated equipment , outdoor cabinets and 1.1m bollards.
Decision Details:
Decision Date: 08/09/2005
Decision: REFUSE PERMISSION FOR RETENTION
Appeal to An bord Pleannala:
Notified: 07/10/2005
Lodged: 04/10/2005
Appellant Type: 1st & 3rd Party
Nature of Appeal: AGAINST DECISION
Decision of An Bord Pleannala:
Decision Date: 12/04/2006
Decision: Refuse Permission

Details of Application: SD07A/0977
Date Received: 14/03/2008
Application Type: Permission
Submission Type: Additional Information
Applicant: Mr. Noel Reynolds ,
Location: Knocklyon Service Station, adjoining detached house ‘Hersil’ and Units 1, 2, 7 and 8 Landy Industrial Estate, Knocklyon Road, Dublin 16.
Proposed Development: Demolition of the existing Knocklyon Service Station c. 211sq.m. and forecourt area, adjoining detached house ‘Hersil’ c. 193sq.m., adjoining cottage c.68sq.m. and garage c.31sq.m., and existing industrial buildings and offices with a combined floor area of 2929sq.m. and the construction of 57 dwellings consisting of 24 no. 2 and 2.5 storey houses and 33 apartments located in 3 no. 3 storey blocks over basement car parking for 49 cars. The dwellings include a mix of 4 x five bedroom 2.5 storey detached houses, 1. four bedroom 2 storey detached houses, 8 x five bedroom 2.5 storey semi detached houses, 4 x three bedroom 2.5 storey semi detached houses, 4 x three bedroom 2 storey semi detached houses 3 x three bedroom 2.5 storey terraced houses, 9 x one bed apartments and 24 x 2 bed apartments, and all associated site works above and below ground level. Significant Further Information: the development will now consist of the demolition of existing Knocklyon Service Station (c.211sq.m.) and forecourt area, adjoining detached house (“Hersil” (c. 193sq.m.), adjoining cottage (c. 68sq.m.) and garage (c. 31sq.m.) and existing industrial buildings and offices with a combined floor area of 2929sq.m. and the construction of 2 no. retail/commercial units with a total floor area of 344sq.m. and 51 dwellings consisting of 23 no. 2 and 2.5 storey houses and 28 apartments located in 3 no. 3 storey blocks over basement car parking for 49 cars. The dwellings now include a mix of 4 x 5-bedroom, 2.5 storey detached houses, 3 x 4-bedroom 2 storey detached houses, 6 x 5-bedroom 2.5 storey semi-detached houses, 6 x 3-bedroom 2.5 storey semi-detached houses, 2 x 3 bedroom 2 storey semi-detached houses, 3 x 3 bedroom 2.5 storey terraced houses, 7 x 1 bedroom apartments and 21 x 2 bedroom apartments and all associated site works above and below ground level.
Decision Details:
Decision Date: 10/04/2008
Decision: REFUSE PERMISSION
Appeal to An bord Pleannala:
Notified: 12/05/2008
Lodged: 07/05/2008
Appellant Type: 1st Party
Nature of Appeal: AGAINST DECISION
Decision of An Bord Pleannala:
Decision Date: 17/12/2008
Decision: Grant Permission

Details of Application: SD09A/0127
Date Received: 30/03/2009
Application Type: Permission
Submission Type: New Application
Applicant: Mr. Noel Reynolds , Butlerstown
Location: Knocklyon Road, Knocklyon, Dublin 16.
Proposed Development: Alterations to the eastern portion of previously approved site plan (prev. ref. SD07A/0977, PL.06S.2290906) affecting 14 previously approved houses to include: (i) provision of on-curtilage car parking to 5 no. type C houses and 1 no. type F house, (ii) provision of optional conservatories to the rear of all houses, (iii) minor revision including a reduction in floor area to house type E and E1, (iv) minor revisions to site layout plan, (v) minor revisions to elevational treatment of all houses. All on a site of c.0.44 hectares situated to the east of Knocklyon Service Station and adjoining detached house ‘Hersil’ at units 1, 2, 7 and 8 Landy’s Industrial Estate.
Decision Details:
Decision Date: 20/05/2009
Decision: GRANT PERMISSION

Details of Application: SD09A/0303
Date Received: 31/07/2009
Application Type: Permission
Submission Type: New Application
Applicant: Mr. Noel Reynolds , Knocklyon Service Station
Location: Knocklyon Service Station, Knocklyon, Dublin 16
Proposed Development: Alterations to the western portion of the approved site plan (prev. Refs SD07A/0977, PL 06S.2290906 and SD09A/0127 to include omission of 9 no. previously approved houses and their replacement with 13 no. 2/3 storey houses comprising 6 no. 3 storey semi detached four bedroom houses, 2 no. 2 storey semi detached three bedroom houses, 3 no. 3 storey terraced three bedroom houses and 2 no. 2 storey terraced 2 bedroom houses and minor amendments to approved site plan and associated site works all on a site of c. 0.3ha at Knocklyon Service Station and adjoining detached house “Hersil” at Units 1, 2, 7 and 8 Landy’s Industrial Estate.
Decision Details:
Decision Date: 24/09/2009
Decision: GRANT PERMISSION

Enforcement History

Roller Disco

On Friday 18th December, an Enforcement Notice under Section 155 of the Planning & Development Act was served by hand to the residence of Noel Reynolds, owner of the premises at Landy’s Industrial Estate which was being converted to a roller disco/rink. The notice required the immediate cessation of all works.

Later that afternoon, Noel Reynolds, owner of the property, verbally gave an undertaking (by phone) that he would not proceed with the roller disco, but would lodge a planning application.

An inspection on Monday 21st December found:-

“The gates to the lands at the end of the entrance avenue were closed and there was no evidence of activity ongoing.”

A further inspection on 4th January 2010 confirmed that no activity was taking place.

Car repair business

An Enforcement Notice pursuant to Section 154 of the Planning & Development Act issued to the owners of the lands on 28th January 2010 requiring within the specified period commencing 1st February 2010 and ending 22nd February 2010:-

“Cease and discontinue the material change of use of a wholesale warehouse to a use for the carrying out of mechanical repairs to vehicles / sale and fitting of tyres to vehicles”

Failure to comply with the requirements of this notice will lead to the initiation of legal proceedings in this matter.

Mast and antennae

Following an investigation into the erection of an unauthorised mast, antennae, and assciated equipment during 2005, the unauthorised mast etc were removed from the lands.

Current Zoning

The site is zoned “A “, “To Protect and/ or Improve Residential Amenity” and the use classes related to this zoning objective are as follows:

PERMITTED IN PRINCIPLE

Halting Sites/Group Housing, Nursing Home, Open Space, Public Services, Residential, Retirement Home

OPEN FOR CONSIDERATION

Bed & Breakfast, Betting Office, Carpark, Caravan Park-Residential, Cemetery, Church, Community Centre, Crèche /Nursery School, Cultural use, Doctor/Dentist etc. Education, Enterprise Centre, Funeral Home, Garden Centre, Guest House, Health Centre, Home

Based Economic Activities, Household Fuel Depot, Industry-Light, Office-Based Industry, Offices less than 100 sq. m, Petrol Station, Public House, Recreational Buildings (Commercial), Recreational Facility/Sports Club, Refuse Transfer Station, Residential Institution, Restaurant, Science and Technology Based Enterprise, Service Garage, Shop-Local, Shop-Neighbourhood, Veterinary Surgery.

NOT PERMITTED

Abattoir, Advertisements and Advertising Structures, Aerodrome/Airfield, Agricultural Buildings, Boarding Kennels, Caravan Park-Holiday, Cash & Carry / Wholesale Outlet, Concrete / Asphalt (etc.) Plant in or adjacent to a Quarry, Dance hall / Discotheque, Heavy

Vehicle Park, Hospital, Hotel / Motel, Industry-Extractive, Industry-General, Industry-Special, Motor Sales Outlet, Offices 100 sq. m – 1,000 sq. m, Offices over 1,000 sq. m, Refuse Landfill / Tip, Retail Warehouse, Rural Industry-Cottage, Rural Industry-Food, Scrap Yard, Shop-Discount Food Store, Shops-Major Sales Outlet, Transport Depot, Warehousing.

In the event of unauthorised development taking place on this site the appropriate enforcement action will be taken, as is the case with all sites in the County.