Only a third of planning appeals completed within 18 week guideline

Galway Daily news Letteragh housing estate gets planning approval

Only 35% of appeals to An Bord Pleanála are completed with the 18 week timeframe that it’s supposed to aim for under legislation.

Galway West TD Eamon Ó Cuív has said that the constant delays to the appeals process at An Bord Pleanála are “totally unacceptable” adding, “At the moment only 35% of cases are being completed within the 18 week timeframe.”

Section 126 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 says that, “it shall be the objective of the Board to ensure that every appeal or referral is determined within,” either 18 weeks or some other period of time perscribed by the Minister.

However Deputy Ó Cuív claims that An Bord Pleanála isn’t coming close to that goal, “During the period January to April 2018, the Bord received 713 planning appeals. Only 222 appeals were disposed of within 18 weeks.”

“This is totally unacceptable and neither An Bord Pleanála nor Minister Murphy has been able to justify these delays,” he said.

The Fianna Fáil TD said that it’s time for Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to step in and make An Bord Pleanála adhere to its own guidelines.

“These delays have already resulted in the loss of the Apple data centre in Athenry, but this is not an isolated incident.”

“Projects, both large and small scale are being held up as a result of An Bord Pleanála’s inability to adhere to its statutory obligations, and the failure of Minister Murphy to either insist that these targets be met or to allocate the resources to help the Bord to meet them.”

The case of Apple’s data centre in Athenry brought the absurd lengths that planning applications can go to into the international spotlight.

Tech giant Apple ultimately decided to abandon the project in its entirety after years waiting for planning approval.

However that case was not solely the domain of An Bord Pleanála, who did give their approval, but was also subject to a lengthy judicial review in court after court.

Still, at a time when the Galway is going through a massive housing shortage, and not nearly enough units are being built in time, efforts do need to be made to make sure our planning process is as timely as can be.