Strand Road High Court decision must not undermine progress on making our cities and towns more people friendly, says Chambers Ireland

 

Chambers Ireland is concerned about the consequences of the Strand Road cycle path decision.

Our cities and towns have needed a renewal and revitalisation effort for many years. The problems which existed in our urban areas before the pandemic have only become worse in recent months. Covid-19 has amplified the negative impact that poor planning, inadequate housing supply and commercial vacancies continue to have on our urban areas.

Some small steps were made to improve our public spaces over the course of the Covid-19 crisis but much more work needs to be done.

The decision on the Strand Road cycle path emphasises the need for planning decisions to be founded on a firm legislative basis. It is critical that the process of granting planning permission is transparent, fair, and expert. Additionally, challenges or appeals must be completed with speed and efficiency.

In its recent Pre-Budget Submission, Chambers Ireland called for several improvements to Ireland’s planning system to make it more effective. Rather than taking legislative shortcuts, Government should invest in the planning system by:

  • Scaling up the resources and skills in planning departments at local and national levels
  • Investing in the courts and judicial system so that it can quickly adjudicate on any planning decisions that come before it
  • Delivering on its commitment to introduce an Environmental and Planning Court.

Chambers Ireland Chief Executive, Ian Talbot said: “The greatest risk to achieving our 2030 climate targets are the weaknesses of our planning system. Government must urgently address these deficiencies.

“Nationally, our energy generation and transmission networks have to become sustainable. Locally, our cities and towns need major investment in our public realm, vacant buildings, and transport networks. We will only see the changes in individual behaviour which our carbon reduction targets require us to make when our urban spaces are attractive places to live and work.

“These changes can only occur if we have a planning system which is strong enough to support our ambitions.”