“There is a significant amount of change happening in planning across Ireland and it’s important our members are helping to shape and guide that change through RTPI Ireland,” RTPI President Phil Williams said during his visit to Ireland last week.
The President was briefed on Ireland’s Housing and Homelessness Action Plan and a Bill going through Parliament on the back of this, the proposed new National Planning Framework, a new Planning Regulator being established and a review of An Bord Pleanála during the visit.
Phil discussed these changes with members and planners working at Dublin City Council (pictured right) before visiting the Dublin Docklands to see how the Dublin City Development Plan 2016–2022 would change the area. He later met with the Chair of An Bord Pleanála (an independent equivalent of the Planning Inspectorate in the UK) to discuss the ongoing review into the Irish planning appeals body. RTPI Ireland has provided written and oral evidence to the An Bord Pleanála External Review Group.
“It was great to talk to planners working at the coalface at Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála as well as students at the Dublin Institute of Technology. The issues in Ireland are similar to those I have heard on my visits across the UK and other parts of the world: providing housing; lack of resources; how to drive economic growth and ensuring social justice.”
In the evening he attended the RTPI Ireland Annual Dinner where, in a wide ranging speech, he told guests:
“I was pleased that, for the first time, you published a manifesto prior to the general election which set out a number of key game-changers on housing, infrastructure, community engagement, place making, energy and resources.”
The following day in Cork, Phil met with the Lord Mayor where local authority resourcing is a major issue. He heard from the Lord Mayor about how they are addressing the housing shortage.
“I was able to share with the Lord Mayor a range of different approaches that I’ve seen implemented across the UK to tackle the housing crisis. We know this is a problem governments are grappling with globally as it was a major issue at the recent Habitat III Conference in Ecuador too”.
After, he met with planning students at the University College Cork (pictured below, right) to discuss the work of the RTPI, including planning bursaries, RTPI Ireland’s policy work on the Housing and Homelessness Action Plan and free student membership.
Reflecting on his visit to Ireland, Phil said:
“RTPI Ireland are playing an active role in shaping future Irish planning policy. The met with Minister English and are currently drafting a paper for him on how planning can support the ambitions of the Housing and Homelessness Action Plan. They have also provided evidence for Housing and Homelessness Committee.
“I’m pleased to see RTPI Ireland supporting our members through organising events such as the conference on how planners can help tackle the housing crisis. The successful Member Open Forum meetings looking at the emerging National Planning Framework and Limerick’s regeneration demonstrate how RTPI Ireland is leading on changing the planning system for the better.”
Phil next visits members in the North West of England on 17 and 18 November.
Read: RTPI Ireland’s A Positive Planning System for Ireland
Read: Review of An Bord Pleanála
Related: What we can learn from Ireland's new housing strategy