Regulator gives thumbs up to Longford County Development Plan
The recently adopted Longford County Development Plan 2021-2027 provides a strong blueprint for balanced sustainable growth which will help the county develop vibrant places to live and work, the Planning Regulator has said in its plan adoption letter.
According to the Regulator, the new plan will ensure that the right quantity of housing will be built in the right places with the necessary accompanying infrastructure such as schools, retail and health facilities.
Importantly, the new plan targets significant growth to the county town of Longford consistent with its designation as a ‘Key Town’ in the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy.
The new plan also addresses the legacy of excessive zoning on the outskirts of towns and villages which would increase car dependency and weaken town centres. The plans also avoids zoning areas at risk of flooding.
This is the first time that a development plan prepared by Longford County Council has been assessed by the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR).
Established on foot of the Mahon Tribunal Report, the OPR provides independent oversight of the planning system. One way the OPR does this is to independently assess the various stages that local authority plans go through to ensure they properly apply important national and regional government policies.
Commenting on the new Longford Development Plan, Planning Regulator, Niall Cussen said; "Overall, we are satisfied with the outcome of the adopted plan and the manner in which the vast majority of our recommendations and observations were addressed at draft plan and material alterations stages.
"The local authority and its members are to be especially commended for the modifications to the land use zoning maps. This demonstrates the planning authority’s clear commitment to supporting compact growth and sequential development and avoiding areas at risk of flooding.
"The plan adopted by Longford’s local authority members addresses the vast majority of our recommendations and observations which points to better planning outcomes for Longford and its citizens.”
In total, the OPR made 12 recommendations and 11 observations on its submission at Draft Longford County Development Plan stage and seven recommendations and three observations in its submission at the Material Alterations stage to the Draft Longford County Development Plan.
Recommendations are made on matters considered to constitute a potential material breach of legislative or policy requirements and which may affect the co-ordination of national, regional and local planning requirements. Observations are advisory and generally issue on discretionary or more minor matters.
Planning Regulator, Niall Cussen added: "County Development Plans are hugely important documents. These plans set out a vision for the future development of local areas. They decide where future housing will be located and identify what employment, retail and community facilities will be needed.
"This is why it’s so important that they incorporate the national and regional policies which will help to ensure that Longford’s towns and villages develop in a sustainable way and are vibrant places to live and work.
"I would like to put on record my sincere thanks to both the executive staff and the members of Longford County Council for their engagement and hard work which ensures that their new plan effectively implements national and regional policy at a local level.”
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