Further Consultation with Local Communities & councils needed on planning framework - Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on the government to consult widely with grassroots organisations and local authorities on the latest draft of the National Planning Framework.
Speaking today in the Dáil, Deputy Ó Broin said:
“The National Planning Framework is a very important document. There have been opportunities to make submissions and consult along the way; however I do have genuine concerns about the extent of local community and local authority buy-in to the process up to this point.
“There has undoubtedly meetings organised in local areas, however a significant number of those were poorly attended. There were around 700 submissions made to the document, which is not a huge number when you consider the importance of the document and how it was meant to cover the entire Island. It shows how disengaged people are.
“While there is an opportunity to make a submission on the latest draft of the document we only have just over six weeks - from 26 September when the draft was published up to Friday the 3rd of November - to make submissions.
“Sinn Féin has a few concerns about the document in its current form. For example, within my own portfolio I have concerns about the section on housing.
"There are some things which make sense, for example, the focus on trying to build up housing supply within existing urban and town areas.
However then we see policy objective 35 in the document that aims to reduce vacancy rates from 9% to 5% by 2040. This is a reduction of 0.1% a year over the course of the plan or 4% over 23 years. That is nowhere near ambitious enough.
“Another major problem is the North. There is a chapter entitled "Ireland in the EU". There is no mention of the EU in the eight recommendations in the section. It is all about the North, and there is only one reference to the island.
"It should be called what it is, namely, the all-Ireland dimension to this plan. Across the seven objectives specific to the North there is a lot of vagueness.
“They are just some examples of some of the issues we have with the current draft of the document and we will list the changes we would like to see in our own submission.
“Unfortunately there will be no supplementary consultation with local authorities or local communities and stakeholders during this current consultation period.
"This stage is probably when consultation is the most important. I strongly urge the Government to reconsider that approach and to consider extending the deadline.
“This is not to facilitate submissions from political parties or members of the Oireachtas because we can complete them within the deadline, but to go back out and engage with stakeholders and communities in order to ensure the maximum level of participation.”