An Bord Pleanala criticised by Limerick planner over lack of consistency

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Planner Gerry Sheerin said there is a "no consistency" with decisions from An Bord Pleanala
NINE out of ten planning applications handled by Limerick County Council last year succeeded in obtaining planning permission. And very few of the council’s decisions were appealed.

NINE out of ten planning applications handled by Limerick County Council last year succeeded in obtaining planning permission. And very few of the council’s decisions were appealed.

But of the 37 decisions appealed to An Bord Pleanala, 14 of them, or 37% of the total appealed, were reversed.

“There was no consistency of reasons why they were reversed,“Gerry Sheeran, senior planning engineer, told the members of the Strategic Planning Committee for Planning.

But, he continued, in over half of the reversals, the Bord over-ruled its own inspectors.

“That does concern me,” Cllr Stephen Keary said while Cllr Liam Galvin asked: “Do we need to go back and alter the county development plan given the decision of An Bord Pleanala?”

Cllr Kevin Sheahan gave the example of two cases in the Rathkeale area where permission was refused by Limerick County Council but subsequently granted by An Bord Pleanala.

He believed the county development plan would now have to be amended to take this into account, he said: “I would have thought the planning section should have put an amendment,” ge said.

“I would suggest that cognisance has to be taken of the An Bord Pleanala decisions,” remarked committee member Tony O’Shea.

But Mr Sheeran pointed out that An Bord Pleanala was not a policy making body. “They cannot change a county development plan,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have regard to An Bord Pleanala’s decision.”

However, he pointed out, there were inconsistencies in the Bord’s decisions.

“If we were to start changing every time a decision is made, when they reverse it the other way, are we to change it again?,” he asked.