Offaly ranked 11th in An Taisce planning review

OFFALY County Council has fared better than neighbouring councils in a new major review of planning and environmental policy implementation in Ireland, which overall paints a generally poor outlook on planning across the country over the last 10 years.

OFFALY County Council has fared better than neighbouring councils in a new major review of planning and environmental policy implementation in Ireland, which overall paints a generally poor outlook on planning across the country over the last 10 years.

For the first time, the relative performance of local authorities has been rated in a report ‘State of the Nation: A Review of Ireland’s Planning System 2000 - 2011 launched by An Taisce yesterday (Monday, April 16).

Each local authority is graded in an academic style under eight criteria including percentage of vacant housing stock, one off housing permitted and all residential planning permissions.

With nine scoring Fs, and C being the highest grade achieved, overall ranking performance for Offaly County Council placed it in 11th position amongst 34 City and County Councils with a score of 150 out of 272 indicating a ‘D’ grade for the council.

Laois County Council recorded a performance score of 131, a ranking of 15th position while neighbouring Westmeath scored 134, leaving it in 14th position.

In the report, An Taisce drew attention to relative performance in local planning governance and also outlined the actions which the organisation believed are vital to improve planning policy implementation.

Enforcement appeared to be one of the county’s weakest links in the planning system with the local authority only allocated a score of 15 in the report’s ranking system for legal proceedings commenced following non compliance with enforcement notices 2005 -2010 while receiving only a score of 7 for its capacity of zoned land as a percentage of population in 2011.

Meanwhile, no council secured an ‘A’ or ‘B’ grade in the report.

How Offaly fared

1. Overzone - 7

2. Reserved - 24

3. Upheld - 23

4. Vacant- 25

5. Change Vacant - 24

6. Water Quality - 21

7. One off - 18

8. Enforcement - 15

Total 150 (out of 272) - 55%