asked the Minister for Local Government what steps are being taken in accordance with good urban renewal planning practice to make sure that no local authority makes urban plans without first discussing the proposals with all affected parties and with residential or business interests in the area.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Urban Renewal Schemes.
Urban renewal schemes will normally be the subject of objectives contained in the development plans made under the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1963. Those whose property would be affected have the statutory right to make their views known when the plans are publicly displayed in draft form. Having considered any objections or representations made as a result of objectives about urban renewal contained in the draft plans, it is a matter for the planning authorities concerned to decide whether or not to retain the objectives in the final plans.
Direct action by the planning authority to secure renewal may not be necessary. The general pattern seems to be that urban renewal policies are flexible and that most planning authorities would welcome action by the private interests concerned in carrying out desirable renewal schemes. In some instances private interests come up against serious practical difficulties in trying to secure agreement between a number of owners in order to assemble an area of reasonable size and shape for development. In such cases it may be essential for the planning authority to intervene if re-development is to take place at all. Such re-development cannot, of course, go ahead unless and until the planning authority secure possession of the property in the area concerned and they can only do this either by reaching agreement on disposal terms with the private interests affected or by seeking to acquire the property compulsorily. If compulsory proceedings are resorted to, the owners and occupiers can object to the Minister and a public local inquiry would have to be held before any decision on the relevant compulsory purchase order can be reached. I am satisfied that the interests of owners and occupiers of property in areas that may become the subject of renewal schemes are fully safeguarded in law.
Does the Minister accept that good urban renewal planning practice requires that people be consulted before plans are prepared, and does he accept that Dr. Lichfield, in relation to the central Dublin planning area, pointed out that his mandate did not permit him to consult with the people before drawing up his plan, and that he considered that would be a difficulty? If the Minister is aware of these things, as he must be, will he ensure that in future consultation will take place before the preparation of even the first draft plan in cases of comprehensive urban renewal such as that which is contemplated for the centre of Dublin?
It is open to local authorities to provide that such consultation should take place. Of course, what the Deputy refers to as the Lichfield plan is not a development plan. It is merely an advisory document and a plan is to be made by the planning authority.