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Sustainable Communities and Housing Conference 2009. PLANNING FOR A DIFFERENT FUTURE John O’Connor Chairperson An Bord Pleanála. Time to Reflect. Lessons from past – good and bad Start laying groundwork now for resurgence Opportunities to take advantage Future must be different

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sustainable communities and housing conference 2009

Sustainable Communities and Housing Conference 2009


John O’Connor


An Bord Pleanála

time to reflect
Time to Reflect
  • Lessons from past – good and bad
  • Start laying groundwork now for resurgence
  • Opportunities to take advantage
  • Future must be different
  • Planning system must play part in stabilisation and resurgence
past decade good outcomes
Past Decade: Good Outcomes
  • Legislation improved; national guidance expanded
  • Comprehensive planning framework
  • NSS, RPGs, DPs, LAPs, local framework plans
  • Strategic Development Zones (4)
  • Urban renewal
  • Improved design
past decade bad outcomes
Past Decade: Bad Outcomes
  • Unsustainable development patterns
  • Excessive featureless sprawl
  • Very unsuitable developments in towns and villages
  • Poor residential environments-noisy, poor natural light, car dominated etc.
  • Neglect of water resources/pollution
  • Damage to urban and rural landscapes
reasons for bad outcomes
Reasons for Bad Outcomes
  • Bad development plan zoning
  • Bad planning decisions
  • Lack of adherence to development plan policies
  • Bad design, overdevelopment, car dominated, no space, poor residential environment
  • Inadequate account of infrastructure constraints/economics of provision
  • “any development is good development” syndrome
planning system and property bubble
Planning System and Property Bubble
  • Planning system facilitated huge increase in output, but
  • Quantity over quality – quality of development was patchy
  • Became more developer led
  • Development less coherent
  • Less economic use of physical and social infrastructure and natural resources
  • Tax incentives not tied into planning system
developer led planning
Developer Led Planning
  • By law, development should be led by democratic plans
  • Developers and vested interests had undue influence on plan making
  • Developers had little regard to statutory development plans in buying land and designing schemes
  • Banks ignored planning parameters in lending
  • L.A.s failed to vindicate own DPs
  • ABP has had to refuse or amend many poor quality developments on appeal
  • Land values subverted - good business/community uses displaced
development pressures led to systemic failures
Development Pressures led to Systemic Failures
  • Councillors and management succumbed
  • Every place should be developed!
  • Local authorities failed to send right signals to developers
  • Conflicts between management and planners within local authorities
  • Minimal involvement in planning decisions by L.A. architects
  • ABP decisions frequently not heeded.
a different future
A Different Future
  • A ‘plan-led’ system: more efficient, equitable and publicly acceptable than ‘developer-led’ system
  • Development plans must be externally and internally consistent: zoning should reflect policy objectives, avoid exceptions
  • Plan for sustainable location – transport, energy, water, flooding (revisit existing zonings).
  • Properly adopted LAPs rather than ‘frameworks’ or developer ‘master plans’
a different future contd
A Different Future contd.
  • Pre-planning consultations and planning decisions should transparently vindicate D. P. objectives, policies
  • Need to implement Sustainable Communities Guidelines 2008
  • Impending legislation will underpin
  • NAMA and mooted property tax present opportunities
national asset management agency
National Asset Management Agency
  • NAMA land must maximise benefits to public
  • NAMA must work with planning system: DOEHLG and L.A.s roles
  • Opportunity for L.A.s to take hand in land markets
  • Assemble land banks – good sites for infrastructure, education, enterprise, amenities
  • Help maintain critical level of construction activity
  • Must be more than a financial exercise
  • Opportunity to begin tackling long standing issue of value of development land
mooted property tax
Mooted Property Tax
  • Absence of proper property taxes contributed to bubble
  • Militates against sustainable efficient planning
  • Supplementary Budget – consideration of new property tax
  • Land value tax should be an element
  • LVT would drive sustainable development , promote logical behaviour and stabilise market
  • Reduce pressure to grant planning permissions to generate revenues
  • LVT would lead to review of development levies
revival resurgence
  • Pro-active rather than reactive planning
  • Constructive plan-based engagement with developers
  • Local authorities should actively promote good developments (even small scale) in right locations centres, brownfield, in-fill, serviced land
  • Facilitate services for such developments
  • Local authority architects should assist in suitable design
  • Concessions on development levies to incentivise developments
  • Focus major expansion on SDZs
revival resurgence continued
Revival/Resurgence continued
  • Use CPO powers for sites (ABP will support)
  • Joint ventures to meet identified development needs
  • Tackle dereliction – strong legislation; small scale interventions may appeal now
  • Provide serviced sites at suitable locations in towns and villages to allow ‘self-design’ and to combat excessive one-off housing in countryside
  • Revised planning permissions could be fast-tracked by P.A.s and ABP
  • Compliance conditions could be reduced
  • Planning has part to play in sustaining/ reviving construction/development
  • Planning must work to keep down costs/improve the economics and sustainability of development
  • Planners and architects in L.A.s working more closely with developers within planning framework; Department and ABP have supporting role.
  • NAMA and new property tax present opportunities for better planning longer term