26 November, 2007

Proper planning and the public good...

Touchy subject, planning.

Just watched the new Prime Time Investigates -'The Pressure Zone'. Bad planning, dodgy councillors, conflicts of interest, no records of meetings.

Well, as I said to Kathy Sheridan last month: - "the skulduggery that went on in Dublin in the past is now happening around the country", in the form of "councillors who are also auctioneers, who one day are rezoning land in one part of the town and the next are selling land".

Cllr. Lorcan Allan (FF) and Cllr. Hughie McElvany's (FG) contributions made for good television, and our own Cllr. Vincent P. Martin (GP) gave a clear overview of his own county.

To be honest, the reason I did a masters in planning in UCD in the mid 90s was because I felt awful planning decisions were being made for all the wrong reasons, and that was only Dublin. Plus ca change! Car based long-distance commuting from haphazardly rezoned land in the wrong locations is simply unsustainable. The alternative is far from easy. The challenge is to provide decent and affordable homes with amenities within walking distances of the school, shops, pubs and work. If we can make a start on that within the next five years, I think we'll have done well.

The Programme put it up to Minister John Gormley to rectify the planning process, and suggested that we aren't as keen to make radical changes now that we're in Government. Well, it's early days, and we didn't want John, or Vincent for that matter to be lynched before we were a wet week in Government.

Watch this space...

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