Election hopeful calls for 'streamlined planning process' in Offaly
Joe Wynne, an independent candidate in the upcoming local elections, has expressed his belief that changes are required to the planning application process as it currently stands, stating, "more streamlined planning is now a must."
"We have to remove some obstacles that mean little in the bigger picture of things," he said.
Mr Wynne offered the need to obtain a letter from the parish priest as one such example. "In order to satisfy part of the local need element of the process, couples - or individuals for that matter - can be asked to get a letter from someone like the local priest, or possibly a doctor or a guard, to state that a local need exists."
"But why, in this day and age, is that requirement there? With all due respect to priests, doctors, and guards, there's no reason for them to be involved in whether or not someone can build a house. It shouldn't take a letter like that to allow things to move forward. It's not needed. So it should be removed," Joe said.
Continuing on the same subject, the independent candidate from Ferbane also gave the example of a couple who are trying to build, but one of whom may not be from that particular area. "This one is crazy and incredibly frustrating for those it affects. If a couple wants to build a house together in an area one of them is from, then once all reasonable expectations are met, that's to be welcomed."
"We should be encouraging couples to put down roots in our communities because that helps to grow and safeguard the very future of those communities in every way."
"If a couple wants to set roots in a community, this will sometimes be by moving to a new parish or town for at least one of them. So it's ridiculous to hold against a couple the fact that one of them may not be from the area to begin with."
"And it's absurd to use that as a reason to slow down or prevent them from building. A pre-planning meeting with planners and Council officials is also a must to ensure time and money is not wasted. This meeting will give individuals and the council a chance to discuss how best to successfully proceed with proposed plans."