This Planning myth follows on from a comment by fellow architect Paul McNally:
Like the topic.
One of my favourite myths is that clients need a designer who is ‘in’ with the planners. i.e. has an inside track, wink and nod, a bit of pull (which the Irish fetishise!) in order to be able to ‘get planning’. I am not sure where this comes from, but it stinks of the bad old days when Irish people bowed and scraped to get ahead in life. It is like people do not realise that you have rights, property rights, rights to develop, and the planning process in my opinion is a fairly transparent and predictable process. Sure, a bit of experience helps in understanding development plans, planning policies and good design principles, but given these what the planners want is usually in black and white in the development plan and if you are an architect you will be able to design within that framework.
Perhaps this is a myth perpetuated by unqualified designers, such as the draughtsperson or engineer in order to balance their inability to design with a comprehensive grasp of aesthetics, context, culture or spatial complexity.
I am basing this on a wide planning experience covering at least six different rural county councils and as many borough or city councils over 15 years.
Paul McNally MRIAI”
And Paul is correct, it is a myth and is a legacy of the brown envelope days of getting your permission with a nice nod & a wink and a bundle of notes. What is required however is:
But have the brown envelope days really gone? Is the Irish planning system more likely to promote brown envelopes?
I can honestly say that I haven’t been party to any underhand planning dealings but I have been surprised when planning magically goes through when a Councillor or TD gets involved; who’s to know what is going on behind closed doors?
What is interesting is the difference between the Irish system (a single planner making decisions that then get ‘signed-off’ by higher person) vs. the UK system where frequently planning committees are involved. As I have experience of both systems I have really enjoyed the BBC2 series ‘The Planners’ and to be honest I’d like to see the UK system implemented here in Ireland. You’d think that a committee of this type would be less likely to be ‘bought’ than a single planner but as we’ve seen with the raft of people taking ‘donations’ over the rezoning of planning land that is obviously not the case. Maybe Ireland is has more corruptible people in power?
I’d love to hear your comments on this issue…