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Though legislation to provide for guidelines on local area plans was introduced in 2000, no guidelines had actually been issued before now. Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Councils given legal guidelines on new local area plans

The new guidelines mark the first time that councils have been given legal guidelines on their plans.

IRELAND’S LOCAL COUNCILS have been issued new government guidelines for designing their local area plans.

The guidelines mark the first time that statutory guidelines have been introduced for local authorities to guide them in putting together their development plans – even though legislation allowing for their publication was introduced in 2000.

Junior planning minister Jan O’Sullivan said the new guidelines fulfilled one of the recommendations of the Mahon Tribunal report, which sought to remove the possibility of local councillors having an undue influence on local planning decisions.

Over 40 submissions were received by the Department of the Environment after it published a draft edition of the regulations, which helped to frame the final text.

“The past decade has changed the face of Ireland, of our cities, towns and villages,” O’Sullivan said in a statement.

“We need to ensure that all our decisions about the country we want to live in will be based on the needs of our communities and will be in line with our national objectives for building a more sustainable future.”

O’Sullivan also said the new plans would ensure more coherence and consistency between regional, county and local development plans.

The Department of the Environment said the new system would end an era where developers adopted most of the responsibility for local planning, and would lessen the threat of rezoning procedures being abused.

Read: Proposal to place petrol station next to school rejected by Dublin City Council

More: Minister pledges clampdown on councils over bad planning decisions

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