Local Government (Planning and Development) Bill, 1962—Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

I agree in principle with the Bill. I think the idea behind it is very sound and that a form of rational planning and development, both for town and country, is long overdue. A town planning Bill was enacted in 1934 and amended by another in 1939 but it is true to say that neither of these Acts ever worked. It was optional for local authorities to adopt the 1934 Act or not. Many of them in fact adopted it and when they had done so, they were obliged to prepare a town plan, but notwithstanding the fact that a goodly number of local authorities adopted the 1934 Act, very few of them—in fact, none of them—prepared a town plan. The outstanding example was Dublin Corporation who, 15 years after the passing of the 1934 Act, were sued in the High Court in respect of an order to compel them to prepare a town plan so that the citizens of Dublin might know where they stood. Despite the fact that the High Court, and later the Supreme Court, ordered the Dublin Corporation to prepare and perfect a plan, I do not think they ever did so.

The reason was that the Acts of 1934 and 1939 were not workable. They attempted too much and attempted to plan on a very long-term basis. I think that a number of local authorities were advised by experts on the form of town plan which they should prepare and pass and a lot of those plans were farcical in the extreme. However, the Minister and the Government have decided that the Acts of 1934 and 1939 should be replaced and the present Bill is a serious effort to provide the country with a rational planning system. I should like to congratulate the Minister and his advisers on bringing it in. I will, of course, have some criticisms later of the details of its provisions, but by and large, it is a good measure which deserves congratulation. I should also like to congratulate the Minister on the manner in which he dealt with the Bill in the Dáil and met the constructive opposition presented in the Dáil by the Opposition Parties.

I will be pardoned for saying that the Bill took four days on the Second Stage in the Dáil and 11 days in Committee, while the remaining Stages, I think, took three or four days. I am saying that because I understand we are expected to deal with this Bill in a very short time here. That is a mistake because despite the amount of good work which has been done in the Dáil, a lot more could be done here. There are a number of Senators on both sides of the House who have specialised knowledge, both architectural and legal, which could usefully be applied to the Bill but I understand that due to the time of the year at which it has been introduced, the Minister may make demands to have it dealt with very quickly. That is a mistake.

This Bill was introduced in the Dáil away back on 12th September, 1962, and the Second Stage was not taken until 22nd November. This Bill could with considerable profit have been introduced in this House and the Second Stage and Committee Stage dealt with here with much advantage to the Bill. It is non-contentious and we had considerable time on our hands which could have been devoted to this Bill.

I agree with the Bill in principle. Town and regional planning is absolutely essential and the rights of the individual must give way, where necessary, to the rights of the community as a whole. It seems to me, however, that we should be very careful in a measure of this sort to ensure that rights of individual ownership and rights of property are not infringed unless such infringement is absolutely necessary in the public interest. That is one of the complaints I have against this measure. All through, with very few exceptions, the only remedy an individual has against attack, if I may use so strong a word, is to appeal to the Minister. I do not think that is a sufficient safeguard. Under some provisions in the Bill, a planning authority may do certain things but shall do certain things if called upon by the Minister to do so. Yet the only action an individual has against action taken against him by the planning authority, at the express request of the Minister, is to appeal to the Minister. That is, I think, asking too much of the Minister. It is asking too much of human nature to ask the Minister to overrule himself or reverse himself on appeal.

In my experience, appeal to the Minister is never satisfactory because it is not an appeal in open court. At best, the evidence is given to an inspector appointed by the Minister. He does not give a decision at the conclusion of the evidence. He goes back to Dublin and several months later, a written decision is sent down from the Custom House. From the point of view of the layman, from the point of view of a litigant, that is not satisfactory. I know the Minister's answer is that, if he is to preserve uniformity, he must keep control. There is something in what the Minister says, but I think he could restore, or preserve, public confidence by appointing an arbitrator to deal with this sort of thing.

In the past, we have had circuit court judges appointed as arbitrators for a special type of appeal, such as Army pension appeals, and so on. Under this Bill, there will be 87 planning authorities and we can be quite certain that in the early stages, at any rate, there will be a considerable number of appeals from their decisions. It would be well worthwhile to appoint an individual—let him be a circuit court judge, a senior counsel, an engineer, or some other person—to hear these appeals and give decisions there and then, instead of sending an inspector down to report in secret to the Minister, and the Minister then giving his decision. The Minister cannot but be influenced by the fact that he may have already directed a planning authority to do that against which appeal is taken. That is my strongest complaint against this Bill. It is, I think, fundamental.

The next point is, perhaps, more appropriate to Committee Stage, but I shall raise it now. I am not too happy about it. Section 19 obliges a planning authority to make a plan. Section 20 obliges the planning authority to review that plan now and again, and certainly once every five years. Section 21 says:

Where a planning authority have prepared a draft of a proposed development plan or of proposed variations of a development plan——

they shall do certain things. Those are outlined at pages 16 and 17. They are all very important steps. They shall send copies of the prescribed documents to the prescribed authorities; they shall publish a notice inIris Oifigiúil and in a paper circulating in the area; where the draft includes a provision relating to structures proposed to be preserved, they shall do certain things. Several other things are outlined, all of which are very important. They are obliged to do these things only if they prepare a draft of the plan.

Is there any obligation on the planning authority to prepare a draft? Would it not be open to the planning authority, if they were clever enough, to go ahead and put the plan into force, without preparing any draft? If they do that none of these safeguards in Section 21 will be effective. I hope the Minister has some explanation for this. There must be an explanation, but it is significant that, even in the index to the Bill, there is Section 19, "Obligation to make development plan and contents of plan"; Section 20 "Obligation to review development plan and variations of plan"; Section 21 "Publication of notices with respect to plans, etc.", but it does not say there is an obligation to publish notice. Section 33 (9) says:

Where any such direction as is referred to in subsection (1) of this section is proposed to be given by the Minister, a draft thereof shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and the direction shall not be given until a resolution approving of the draft has been passed by each such House.

There you have a positive direction that a draft shall be prepared. There must, I feel, be an answer to my query. I hope the Minister will give it to me when he comes to reply.

The other criticisms I have are mainly on the grounds that the Bill does not provide a suitable form of appeal to an independent tribunal. I shall elaborate on that on Committee Stage.

I join with other Senators in welcoming this Bill. To anybody remotely concerned with the development of urban and rural areas it is quite obvious this Bill is urgently necessary. I am appreciative of the value of artistic features and amenities in town and country planning. I would not go so far as the late Henry Ford when he said: "You can have your motor car any colour you like, so long as it is black." From the artistic point of view, that is not a very commendable attitude, but Henry Ford did build something like 15 million motor cars.

There are many things pending in urban and rural areas in relation to which this Bill is urgently necessary. I should like to see it passed and implemented as quickly as possible. In Dublin, the district I know best in this connection, the planning of schools and hospitals is being—I shall not go so far as to say held up—seriously inconvenienced by the lack of an official, authoritative plan.

There is, for instance, the project to replace seven of our small hospitals here by a much smaller number of modern hospitals as soon as we can get the money to do it. We do not know when that will be but we hope it will not be too far ahead. Before that day comes when we are told we can have some money, we should like to have planned the location and size of the new hospitals that will take the place of the large number of small old hospitals but we cannot do that unless we know where the concentration of population in the city will be, not now or tomorrow or ten years' time but 20 years' time from now. We know where the hospitals that are being planned are likely to be but there may well be concentrations of population for 20 years ahead of which we have no knowledge at present. I have personal knowledge of the way in which our efforts are continuously held up in that regard and I am quite certain that in other things as well there is a similar situation. Therefore, I welcome this Bill and I hope that it may be passed and put into operation as soon as possible.

As one who has been many years a representative on a local authority, I wish to add my voice to those of Senators who welcomed the Bill to commend the Minister and his officials for making what I think is the greatest step forward in local government legislation since the foundation of the State. There is no doubt that it has come only in the nick of time, if at all in time, because it has been a great source of embarrassment and frustration to members of local authorities to prohibit an activity in building or any other activity under town planning and to find there was no power in law to implement that decision, so that a person could ignore an order or request and continue to build undesirable features. There is also the position at the moment in some seaside resorts where one may observe the completely crazy and inadequate habitations going up, presumably for a few months of the summer, but which are deteriorating every year and which certainly do not add to the beauty of the locality but militate against it.

In the cities particularly we are all aware of the increasing chaos in traffic regulation. In Cork City bridges are needed and the increasing traffic on our roads is a growing problem and something must be done immediately to solve it. Then leading out of the city to a certain seaside resort about 30 miles away there are at least 20 petrol stations, again very indiscriminate planning. I urge the Minister or his successor when the time comes to give the local authorities as much autonomy as possible to plan in their own areas and not to insist that every little detail should be sent to Dublin for sanction. I presume that is the intention under the Bill and in that sense I welcome it because it is obvious that those who are interested in the locality are the best judges of the background of any scheme they want to advance in that locality.

I hope you will allow me a little indulgence if I commend the Minister on his recent and not so recent exhortations to local authorities about the necessity of providing swimming baths. I would advocate the provision of swimming baths for towns and villages with a population of, say, 3,000 or 4,000. There is tremendous State aid there for the local authorities but I am afraid that many people outside the local authority members altogether do not appreciate the health-giving services rendered to the community by the provision of swimming pools. There are many children who are not fitted physically for outdoor, field past-times. If they are trained as swimmers and life savers from the age of 10 or 11 years they would be capable at 16 or 17 years of taking part in practically any game. If it is desired to reduce the number of hospitals and the expenditure on health services much more attention should be paid by the local authorities to the provision of swimming baths. The Minister has come out and identified himself with that over the last number of years and I commend him for it. I hope that in the near future his words will have effect.

We appreciate how busy the Minister and his officials have been in the past 12 months with important legislation but we can truthfully say this legislation is as important as any that has been passed not alone by his Department but by any other Department, and I congratulate him and his officials on it.

I wish also to welcome the Bill. This measure had a very good reception in Dáil Éireann and a very good reception in the Labour Party. I read with interest the debate mostly between Deputy Jones and the Minister and I congratulate Deputy Jones for the study he gave the Bill and his reasons for not agreeing with some of the amendments by the Minister.

Everything the Minister has in this Bill is reasonable and I believe it will do a lot of good. The only regret I have is that he was not Minister in 1939 because there is no doubt that a great deal of damage has been done since 1939 and millions of pounds have been spent on grants and everything else, and it will take millions of pounds to undo some of the harm that has been done.

When the 1939 Act became law, people had a sort of horror of that Act. They were afraid to do anything without asking permission but as they grew older they found out they could do quite a lot without asking permission from anyone. That is what has been happening lately and perhaps that is why we have the situation of which we have heard today. The fact is that in some counties the Town and Regional Planning Act was not adopted. Take Offaly, for example. There has been jerry-building in that county. A person could build a shed on the side of the main road or put trees at a corner obstructing the view. That has gone on all down the years since 1939.

In Meath where I was a member of the local authority they are more careful. Application had to be made under the Town and Regional Planning Act to do the work. Site plans and specifications had to be supplied and there was quite an amount of good work done through that. In Westmeath, when it came to building new houses, permission had to be obtained under the Town and Regional Planning Act; otherwise, grants would not be made available. When it came to reconstruction grants and grants for work done under the farm improvements scheme, a person had not to go to the bother of looking for permission at all under the Town and Regional Planning Act. For that reason, sheds were built in places where they should not have been built, and work was carried out which disfigured houses, such as the addition of flat roofs or even in roofs. Some of them have not stood the test of time. Lean-to sheds which were added four or five years ago now have to be taken down. I hope that when this Bill becomes an Act some consideration will be given to the specification of work to be done.

Something in this Bill which affects us very much in Westmeath where we have some of the most beautiful lakes in the country is the question of access. Very few of our lakes have proper means of access to them and the position has worsened in recent years because some of the estates surrounding the lakes have been purchased by foreigners who have closed the entrances to the lakes. Recently a foreigner who had bought land at a place called Lilliput closed the gate leading to the lake. Fortunately the county manager took drastic action and in a registered letter to the owner informed him that if he did not do something within a short time he would take action. The landowner gave in under that pressure but in many of the other places they have not given in and if there is provision in this Bill for proper access to lakes it will be a good day's work.

The question of hoardings also arises. People apply to the county manager for permission to put up hoardings and he refuses, but yet the next day they are put up. In Mullingar, a friend of mine built a beautiful bungalow. A petrol station was put up beside it and then, without permission, a hoarding which completely obliterated the house from the road. Under the existing legislation, nothing could be done about that. Now if you erect something without permission and it has to be removed afterwards for any reason, the council is under no obligation to give compensation for its removal.

There is also the question of dance-halls. In Mullingar, the foundations of a dancehall were being laid, although no permission had been granted, but eventually the county manager gave permission, subject to the consent of the Minister. There was a local hall in Mullingar and 55 organisations including the Red Cross and political Parties got funds from the use of this hall. These organisations signed a petition seeking permission for the erection of the hall. The hall was built and the people were dancing in it and we never received any word as to what the decision was. That gives you an idea of what we had to cope with under the Town and Regional Planning Act.

The erection of petrol pumps has also been mentioned. The country has been disfigured by these pumps. I do not know what the idea is or why the companies are so keen to erect them. If they concentrated on giving cheaper petrol, it would be much better than erecting pumps every hundred yards. Recently, the county manager refused permission for the erection of a petrol pump in the market square. There were two pumps within 100 yards of it, and he said it would cause an obstruction but a politician came down and said it would be built and within 24 hours they were digging and the pump went up. When the local authority makes a decision, that type of thing should not be done. That should not be done by the Minister without an inquiry and giving good reasons why it should be done.

Rights of way are also dealt with in this Bill. In rural areas, rights of way are usually located at the bottom of an old gripe. That came down from the landlord system. Nowadays, these rights of way are too narrow for the passage of modern machinery and I knew of one man who lost his crop last year because he could not get a combine through. A man should not be prevented from getting into his land because the landowner between him and his land does not want him to go there.

There is also the question of public lighting. When a housing scheme is being prepared, one of the features should be proper lighting arrangements. Five years ago, we had a beautiful housing scheme built in Rochfortbridge. There were 100 houses in it but if you pass through it in winter, it is a dungeon. Apparently you must take over the roads, declare them public roads and provide money for the lighting. There should not be all that red tape involved where 100 houses and probably 500 people are involved.

Senator Carton dealt very ably with the question of ESB cables and I agree with him entirely. I believe if we are to make this Act a success—and it is one of the finest that has been produced because the Minister has seen all the flaws and has tried to curb any abuses that existed and anybody who tries to break the law in future will find himself in difficulty— every local authority should employ a design engineer. A design engineer is wanted badly in every county. He could help in disputes regarding compensation. On several occasions in recent months, I have been called in to make agreements arising from the widening of main roads from Dublin to Galway and so on. Fortunately, agreement has been reached in cases where people had been in dispute for five years. There should be a small committee in every county and a design engineer who could try to settle as many disputes at home instead of sending everything to the Minister. Nearly all matters of appeal must go to the Minister and he would want to work 24 hours of the day to cope with the appeals that will arise from the implementation of this measure.

There has been a lot of talk about arbitrators. I believe a panel of arbitrators should be appointed. At present we have only one and we come in contact with him in connection with compulsory purchase orders for the erection of working class houses. There has been great delay because the arbitrator could not come when he was required. We should have a panel of arbitrators. I see no trouble whatsoever in having such a panel of five or six. They would speed up things for the local authorities. We are severely criticised every day of the week because of the time it takes to get a job going. For example, we started to reconstruct our dancehall in Mullingar months before the new man came in and built the hall; yet he had the hall built in four months while we had not got the initial plans through the Department.

Delays in the Department are bad and there will be great delays about compensation and appeals. I would urge the Minister to try to prevent long delays. I welcome the Bill as a good measure. I can assure the Minister that there will be quite a lot of discontent. People will say that there will be more red tape as a result of this Bill but it must come if we are to have proper development and proper planning.

I wish to welcome this Bill because it is an excellent idea to have long-term planning. I want to refer to the danger, in long-term planning, of planners searching for an easy way round a large problem, as, for example, bypassing some of our larger provincial towns. That should definitely be the last resort as a solution of any problem which planners may come up against. It is most unfair to endeavour to take away the business from any of our traders or business people throughout the country. In many of our towns there are traffic problems and that suggestion has been made as a possible solution. The Minister should always think twice when such a proposal is made to him and endeavour to preserve the trading and business of these towns.

I should also like to see, in all new plans for urban areas, adequate provision for car parks. The parking of cars in some of our provincial towns is a major problem. Heretofore, there had been no great plans for its solution. The problem should be tackled without delay. As far as possible, the intention should be to preserve the residential areas as such and to prevent the indiscriminate erection of garages and filling stations and, as mentioned by Senator McAuliffe, ballrooms. The last mentioned can be quite a nuisance in residential areas. They attract many people quite a number of whom are very inconsiderate patrons who hoot car horns, shout and roar and laugh and bang car doors at all hours of the morning, thus preventing citizens nearby from having a peaceful night's rest. I hope the Bill will strength the powers of the Garda in dealing with that problem.

I should like to see the future largescale planning offering the least inconvenience possible to all sections of the community. I have in mind farmers whose land is acquired for the erection of houses or for road-widening purposes. Local authorities should make prompt payment for land acquired. I have known cases where the sale of land to local authorities took three and four years to complete. Surely that must be unnecessary? I should like to see these sales hurried up.

Take the village of Rathcoole in County Dublin where half the street has been ripped up since last November. It is a downright disgrace that inconvenience should be caused to the general public where this road, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the country, is concerned for the past nine or ten months. The job has not been completed as yet. Could the Minister request local authorities to put larger gangs at work on our busier thoroughfares, such as this thoroughfare, and so expedite work?

As far as Section 52 is concerned, we should acknowledge the tremendous work Bord Fáilte have done for the country with their Tidy Towns competition. One cannot but notice the great transformation which has taken place in so many of our towns. I live in Abbeyleix which was always a picturesque place but since that competition started, the appearance of the town has been enhanced considerably.

Local authorities should be asked to provide more litter baskets, especially in the vicinity of schools. Senator Ó Maoláin mentioned the playing of transistor sets and other antics of the younger generation and described them as atrocious. I think it is morally wrong for the older generation constantly to be badgering the teenagers and telling them to stop doing this or that, to turn off this or that and saying they are a disgrace to society when that is not a fact. I believe the coming generation and the teenagers in this country will prove themselves to be the best generation we have known. All that is necessary is that elementary civics should be taught in our schools. This is very relevant because the vast majority of public property is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Local Government. Children, especially those in our national schools, should be taught to use litter baskets, to have consideration, especially for the older people, to have pride in their country and to give a hand in keeping it tidy as well as leaving it a better place for future generations to live in.

There is a problem where the local authority acquires large tracts of land in eliminating dangerous bends. More often than not, these corners are left as convenient places for itinerants to park. In County Laois, where practically every dangerous bend has been eliminated, the council on more than one occasion have sold corners that were old roads to individuals to build houses on and convenient to the town of Portlaoise a wonderful bungalow has been built on what was a waste corner. Right through the country, this procedure could be followed with great effect.

Another problem arises where local authorities build lay-bys for the convenience of truck drivers and other people who want to rest off the main thoroughfare. In many cases the new mobile tinkers pull in there and leave the place in a shambles. Some steps should be taken to put these people off the major roads because these lay-bys were not intended for the convenience of these lazy people.

I am glad to see this Bill and I hope it will be a success when implemented.

First, I would wish to express my appreciation of the manner in which this Bill was received in the Seanad and to say that the approach of those who have spoken was in keeping with the manner in which the Bill was dealt with in the Dáil.

Senator Dooge mentioned that regional and national planning as such were not mentioned in the discussions in the Dáil. In fact, I think he is rather misinformed there. There was reference to this aspect—which is a very important aspect—of the matter. Certainly as far as I was concerned, it was mentioned in both my opening and closing Second Reading speeches in the Dáil and, indeed, today I have drawn particular attention to the need for correlation of plans and collaboration, not only within a county or region but from a national point of view.

He also mentioned what he felt was wrong with the 1934 Act and on this point I can say that I fully agree with him. If we are to improve on the 1934 Act, the first thing we really need is public support. He elaborated saying that without public support urban renewal and re-development which can and undoubtedly will be a touchy matter will not be possible. At an early stage I realised this and on several occasions I appealed to public people, members of the Oireachtas and of councils throughout the country, for this particular public support. It is mainly through members of the Oireachtas and of local councils that we must seek guidance for the public so that they will realise what planning can mean to them. I join fully and wholeheartedly in the view that we do need public opinion behind us if we are to benefit by the proposals in the Bill.

The same speaker expressed fear that urban renewal proposals would not be required to be shown on development plans. In fact, urban renewal of obsolete areas must under Section 19 be shown on development plans and the Senator can rest easy about that aspect of the matter.

The same speaker also mentioned that there was no reference to flooding in the Bill. In fact, flooding is covered in line 54, page 45, of the Bill dealing with development prejudicial to public health. That, we are advised, brings any flooding that may occur fully and adequately under the Bill.

The question has been asked—and rightly so—who is likely to be called upon to decide what are the scenic amenities or natural beauties of a particular place. I hope the matter may be approached on the lines suggested by, I think, Senator Stanford that a planning authority might establish certain specialised groups, drawn no doubt from the general area, to determine matters such as these. Taisce, Bord Fáilte, an Chomhairle Ealaíon and other similar bodies might, indeed, be consulted in addition to any local persons who might be felt to have particular knowledge and appreciation of the natural beauties of the countryside or any specialised knowledge which would be of use to a planning authority. That is not to say that I agree with the sentiment expressed by other speakers that we could not get enough enlightenment and appreciation of all these things within our authorities. No matter how strange a collection they sometimes may appear to be, I believe that sounder common sense often emanates from the discussions of local authorities than from specialists in many fields to whom they have recourse. If they can get local specialists, so much the better, but I do not go along with the belief that you can call on new people and let the local authority bow out and hand over to a group of persons, even though they may be better qualified to judge these things. You should get the sound common sense of the local body supplemented by local specialised knowledge or the advice of some of the bodies I have mentioned. That is what I would like to see.

It has been mentioned that noise does not come within this Bill but that is being put right and the 1957 Act adequately covers the matter.

Rights of way have been mentioned by several people. Straight away, let me say that I am very conscious of this matter and had been so before we formulated the proposals in the Bill. I am conscious of how zealously we regard our rights of way, particularly in the rural parts of Ireland. The idea that anyone, whether native, returned native, or complete stranger, should be allowed to close off perfectly good and safe beaches which our people have been using for generations, or close off access to mountains frequented by our people from time immemorial, or close off riverside walks, is completely abhorrent to me. Not only do I believe that we have power in this measure to ensure that that will not be done but it is my wish, and I shall be most disappointed if our local planning authorities do not ensure by exercising their rights that such does not happen, that every care will be taken to preserve these amenities for our people, or to create them, where necessary, so that our people may enjoy amenities unmolested. That is the power in this section. I am, of course, conscious at the same time that owners must not be trampled upon or their rights abused. Looking at the matter fairly and squarely, the greater likelihood is that it is the rights of the public that will be trampled upon. That is the way I see it. I may be prejudiced but, if I am, I have had some experience that causes me to be so.

Some Senators, particularly Senators Stanford and Senator Dooge, referred to the education of our public. One Senator suggested that there should be education in matters of appreciation of planning and suggested that the responsibility was that of the Minister concerned, presumably the Minister for Local Government. It was later suggested that the Minister for Education might prepare a booklet setting out in general terms what young people should appreciate and the manner in which they should appreciate it. That is something which commends itself to me. In fact, we shall be taking every opportunity to get across to the public as full an understanding as possible of what planning really means. I have already mentioned what we hope to do in the line of courses and discussion groups. We have in mind the issue of a comprehensive booklet in very plain, non-technical language.

Is there any chance of one of the Minister's good films on these lines, including shots of ancient Greek town planning and development?

That is a possibility. All we have decided on at the moment is the booklet to which I have referred. Any other means at our disposal, not excluding films, TV, and so on, we will certainly avail of. I do not need any persuasion that an informed public is absolutely vital to the working of this Bill.

Senator Carton raised the problem of the developer who is called upon to pay betterment charges for services laid down by the local authority at public expense which, in turn, facilitate the development of that particular property. He pointed to the apparent anomaly of a developer laying down services which, in fact, become public because they facilitate other landowners by enabling them to connect up with the services available. That is an erroneous interpretation of the situation. Where a developer is required, possibly as a condition of his planning permission, to lay down services in excess of his own requirements, the local planning authority will be required to pay the additional cost of that excess and take over and maintain as a public service that which the private developer laid down. That should allay the Senator's fears.

That is satisfactory.

One suggestion I should like to lay low is the suggestion that the elected members of local authorities and planning bodies will be overshadowed by their technical advisers and experts and really will not count. I disagree with that suggestion entirely. No matter how eminent advisers may be, I should hate to see the day arriving when elected representatives would be overshadowed to the degree suggested. I advise those who feel that way to have a change of heart and ensure that no advisers will be allowed to supersede the powers vested in local bodies. They represent the people. They have the powers. Their voice is the voice of the people. It would be a bad thing if experts and advisers became dictators. If elected representatives allowed themselves to be pushed to that point, I should no longer regard them as representative because they would have lost not alone their own convictions but their powers. I do not believe that will be the evolution.

Local authorities have a great deal to offer from the point of view of town and regional planning. I have tried, and shall continue to try, with all the devices at my disposal, to make our local elected representatives aware of the role they can play. They are representative of the various strata in our society and of the various groupings of our people. They have a far better collective knowledge of what is good for and proper in their localities than would the stranger with his purely technical approach.

The local elected representatives will determine finally what the plan is to be. They will agree to the broad general pattern for their particular areas. The general day-to-day administrative detail and decisions on applications for permission will be dealt with, I think rightly, by the executive in the person of the county manager. If there are aggrieved parties as a result of those decisions, those decisions may be appealed to the Minister.

Therefore, in the first instance, there is the broad backcloth of the plan being agreed to and put together by the local representatives with all the advice they can garner from their advisers. Then there are the day-to-day decisions on applications which will be matters for the executive, the county manager or somebody deputed by him. Finally, if there is a dispute the Minister of the day will determine whether or not the appeal is to be upheld or rejected. Again, he is bound by the Bill we have here to decide the appeals, having regard to the general backcloth that has been predetermined by the local representatives. He must have regard to planning criteria. That is a safeguard and a very necessary one.

It can be seen, therefore, that these matters are decided on three levels of local government administration. We may be wrong in these things—that may happen—but we shall be much more often right than wrong and I believe the people will be satisfied in a general way with the manner of administration they will find in the future.

Senator Fitzpatrick doubted whether a draft plan was required at all; in other words, whether there had to be a draft plan and if you did not have the draft plan, then the safeguards he read out in Sections 19, 20 and 21 went out the window. That matter has been fully discussed already and the parliamentary draftsman, on whom we must rely in these matters, is absolutely satisfied that this procedure will require a plan to be drafted for approval by the local authorities. Senator Fitzpatrick shakes his head. I just shake mine back at him and merely refer to what has been my advice on this matter, not just now but some time previously when we had to go into the matter thoroughly, and I am satisfied that the safeguards in the three sections will in fact be there.

It is only Section 21. I did not know this matter was raised in the Dáil because I did not read that particular discussion in the Dáil. I just applied my own mind to this section fresh and for the first time.

I think there was reference to a sidenote in Section 21. Of course the sidenote is not the law and if something is left short there that appears in Sections 19 and 20, it still has no significance, certainly no sinister significance. Anyhow, these side-notes are merely a guide.

I shall raise it again on the section.

If there are any other points or if there are any points I may have overlooked, I shall deal with them as we go along on Committee Stage.

May I ask the Minister a question? I followed him rather closely in his explanation of the relations between the local authority and the manager. Supposing there is a disagreement between the manager and the local authority and finally the majority of the local authority members have one view——

In which context is the Senator making this inquiry? Is it in regard to the drafting or some other connection?

In regard to some local plan under the county council.

If it is day-to-day administration, it would be the manager.

Not finally. The Minister decides finally if there is disagreement.

Locally the manager is the executive authority. He decides?

On the day-to-day administration but not on the adoption of the plan. That is a reserved function and is decided by the elected members.

Question put and agreed to.

There is a general feeling that we should take the Committee Stage and the remaining Stages tonight.

I should like to dissent from Senator Ó Maoláin's opinion about the general feeling. This is an important and complex Bill and Senators should be given sufficient time to prepare for the Committee Stage and I suggest Wednesday, 2nd October.

I am sorry we cannot agree with that because, as I announced on 17th July, it is desirable that we should have this Bill through as quickly as possible. While we do not want to rush any discussion on Committee Stage, I understood this evening from representatives here that since there is general agreement on the principles of the Bill, they would like to finish it. If there is agreement, we are prepared to go ahead.

The question before us is whether or not there is to be a proper and full Committee Stage discussion on this Bill. Senator Ó Maoláin's proposal is tantamount to the proposition that there be no Committee Stage, that the Committee Stage be little more than a formality, little more than a farce.

I have no objection to meeting several days for the next three weeks if necessary to finish the Bill. We do not want to cramp discussion in any way but we understood it was the feeling of the House that we should deal with it tonight. However, if there is objection from that side of the House, I suggest we meet tomorrow if that is desirable.

It is my information that some people very interested in this Bill have suggestions to make. They have done very great preparation on it and they should get an opportunity of putting all the points they have prepared.

I think there should be adequate time to deal with this Bill. I have proposed a date and if that is not acceptable to the Leader of the House, then it is a matter of indifference to me when the Bill is taken.

We could not possibly agree to a postponement to the extent suggested by Senator Dooge. The desire is that this Bill should become law as rapidly as possible. We do not want to cramp discussion and we are prepared to meet for the next three weeks to discuss the Bill but if the House does not wish that we are prepared to deal with it tomorrow or next week, as the case may be.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Perhaps if we embark on the Committee Stage and see how we get on, at 10 o'clock we can decide what happens thereafter.

It was more or less decided we would sit late and finish it.

As I understand it, Senator Dooge's position is that in order to deal with this Bill adequately or fully it would be necessary to have a long interval before the next Stage. There was an adjournment in the Dáil from 6th February to 23rd April and I think Senator Dooge is of the opinion that it would be futile to attempt to tackle the Committee Stage of this Bill tomorrow or next week. He feels that it is necessary to have an adjournment to, say, 2nd of October in order to deal with the Bill and do justice to it. He feels that if the Minister and the Leader of the House cannot accept that proposition, then it is immaterial to him, or to us, when the Committee Stage is taken.

In that case I suggest that we start the Committee Stage now.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Is that agreeable?

Agreed to take remaining Stages today.

Bill considered in Committee.

Section 1 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 2 stand part of the Bill."

I should like to ask the Minister if he could explain in more detail what is meant by a change in use being a material change. In particular, I would like to ask him if he could explain what is the position where any structure is in multiple use and the proposal is to change the proportion of the multiple uses. I understand that statutorily in Britain the position is fixed that a ten per cent variation in a single use is not taken as a change in use and is not subject to planning control. What will be the position under this Bill?

Section 3 would give some illustrations of what can be done. I should add that every case will be dealt with on its merits.

Does that mean that in the case of multiple uses— we are on the definition now of unauthorised use, which includes a change in use—is that not correct?

If a structure is subject to multiple use, there may be from time to time a shift between the proportions of, say, just two uses of a building. Does this constitute "unauthorised use"? Is there any limit here or can a person have this defined only by making application?

It would all depend on how much change. If there were a change from a drapery shop to a fish and chip saloon, that would be fairly substantial and a material change but if there were a change from one type of drapery to another, or from one type of drapery to linen, that could not be regarded as substantial.

This is the reply of the Minister on Committee Stage, but how is this to be determined?

Section 5 of the Bill.

By reference to the Minister?

And reference to the Minister takes place when a particular application is being made——

Only where the doubt arises.

The position then would be that where a person uses a structure partly as a dwellinghouse and partly as a public house, and if he makes a reallocation between the space of one-quarter of one per cent, he must refer that to the Minister?

That surely could not be regarded as a "material" change which is, we are advised, in fact, a word to which we have to give due weight.

That is what I am trying to get at. What percentage is material?

It depends on what we are talking about.

Under the British law, it is quite definite and ten per cent is fixed and written into the Act. In Britain, a person is perfectly safe up to ten per cent. Is the position here that a person is never safe unless it has been defined?

Ten per cent is not in the Bill as the Senator knows, so it does not arise.

If a quarter per cent change occurs, a person does not know whether this is unauthorised.

It must be material. It is certainly not a quarter per cent.

But does the Minister's answer to me now determine that?

No. The Minister's answer, when he is referred to under Section 5, will determine it.

So that a person with a change of one quarter per cent would have to make application?

No, not at all.

I do not see why he does not do an unlawful thing by not making application.

If the Senator does not see, I cannot help him and I should like to.

I am not trying to be difficult; I am trying to get an understanding on this. Should everybody who makes a slight change make an application?

No. We shall try to elaborate to some degree in the regulations that we are empowered to make and in which, I am sure the House will appreciate, we can elaborate to a greater degree than we may tie ourselves in legislation.

Would the Minister then be able to say ten per cent?

I do not think the ten per cent would appeal to me in that respect.

Is the Minister empowered to put a percentage in the regulations?

I should think, by way of guidance, we might if there were a case for a particular percentage, consider what was the best thing to do but at the moment I could not say.

That meets the point. In regard to subsection (7), which applies to certain other sections of the Bill, it states that anything done before the making of the actual development plan shall be construed as being part of the plan. This is applied to a number of sections and is there any reason why it is not applied to Sections 38 and 39? I should have thought that there might be some difficulty in regard to these particular sections.

It does not appear to be relevant to Sections 38 and 39.

Let us take Section 38 (2) which refers to the making of an agreement with a person who is interested in land. I should like to ask the Minister is it clear beyond doubt that the making of an agreement within the first three years would not be affected by the actual coming into effect of the development plan? What happens if an agreement were made in the first three years in accordance with what the local authorities thought would be in the plan but then it occurred that it was not in the plan? What would be the position then?

These agreements would be voluntary agreements entered into by a land-owner and the planning authority and not necessarily part of the plan and therefore would have no bearing on this subsection at all.

If they did in any way infringe on the plan, they would fall to the ground?


Question put and agreed to.
Section 3 and 4 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 5 stand part of the Bill."

I am a little in doubt throughout this Bill whether oral hearings are available to the applicant on every occasion. Would oral hearings be available under Section 5?

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 6 stand part of the Bill."

The section states: "A planning authority shall have all such powers of examination, investigation and survey as may be necessary..." Who decides to what extent they are necessary and what are necessary?

The power of entry would be dealt with under Section 83 by the court.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 7 stand part of the Bill."

This section provides for the service of notices required to be served by the Bill or by regulation. Then subsection (6) gives the Minister power to dispense with the service of notices in certain instances. I think the Bill is intended to deal with cases where somebody is missing and it is difficult to serve notice. In that case, an injustice could be done by the Minister under this subsection. Instead of this power to dispense with the service of notice, a subsection should have been inserted making it obligatory to serve notice by advertisement in a newspaper. If there is a subsection in the Bill—as there probably is— authorising the service of notice by advertisement in a newspaper, then I say with the greatest respect there is no necessity for subsection (6) and it should be deleted.

This, incidentally, is as a result of some amendments we carried out in the Dáil. Possibly what Senator Fitzpatrick has said I might, in other words, have said earlier —before we made the changes. However, we have made the changes and accepted them. I would say that the dispensing of the service of a notice is only where the Minister is satisfied no injury or wrong would be created by so doing.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 8 stand part of the Bill."

Would the Minister explain "register in respect of all land within their area affected by this Act"? Does land affected by the Act in this instance mean land on which a decision has been made under the Act or the whole area under the local authority?

Only where applications for permission have been dealt with or received.

Is that quite clear?

Section 41 makes it quite clear.

I am prepared to take the Minister's word for it but it is very difficult, going through these sections.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 9 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 10 stand part of the Bill."

This section makes provision for the making of regulations. Obviously, very extensive regulations will have to be made under this Bill to carry it into effect. Provision is made in subsection (2) that the regulations shall be laid on the Table of each House of the Oireachtas and if they are not revoked within the specified number of days they shall become law.

The Minister should have followed the example set by himself in the Electoral Act where he provided that the regulations would be laid on the Table of the House and would have to be passed before becoming law. Why did he not do it in this case? It is more effective to have the regulations come before us for approval. It affords an opportunity for discussion?

On the contrary, on a general principle I disagree entirely with that sentiment. Regulations which come up for approval merely invite people to say something whether or not there is any point to what they may say whereas in the case of Orders or regulations that come before the House, subject to their becoming law, generally only those people who feel they have a good case to make or who want to air a grudge or a grievance, and so on, speak on them and they make their case much more fully than the other way around. In this Bill I am doing both. Whether or not it is good practice I should not like to say.

I read the regulations under the Electoral Act carefully. If there had been anything in them which I did not like I should have raised the matter. There are sections in this Bill which deal with specific matters but in relation to which the Minister must bring the regulations before this House for approval. These are the omnibus regulations here which will give effect generally to the Bill. The Minister should have followed his own good example.

I have both examples to follow.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 11 to 14, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 15 stand part of the Bill."

I would hope, in the execution of this section, that this would not be too narrowly interpreted or used. There are two instances here —in regard to contributions for survey, study or research. There is thead hoc study but there is also the further fundamental study which might well in the long run prove to be the more profitable of the two. Would this section entitle local authorities to contribute to such a body as the Social Research Council recently set up by the Institute of Public Administration of which the permanent head of the Minister's Department and Senator Jessop and myself are members?

To whom could it apply?

To the Town Planning Institute and such similar or kindred bodies.

Could it apply to the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland?

Well, yes, if it were related to or in connection with the furtherance of town planning or of knowledge concerning town planning. Then it would not be beyond the bounds of possibility.

Could it apply to university departments of social science?

That I would need to think about.

We all need time to think.

It would depend on the circumstances.

It would be preferable that it should apply as widely as possible, that there should be nothing which would inhibit local authorities in any way. It should be fundamental.

The Senator can take it that the whole purpose of this power to contribute is to enable these bodies directly or indirectly to help themselves as far as education on planning is concerned. If we can relate a project to that and it is really worth while, that is what the section is intended to help, but on each particular body whose name is thrown up to me now, I would not like to make a specific decision.

The Social Research Council which has recently been formed would not be eligible?

Surely sociology and social geography are the bases of long-term planning? Why should they be specifically excluded?

They are not specifically excluded. I was just giving it as my opinion that they will be excluded.

I would hope that when the Minister is better acquainted with the objectives of this body, he will be inclined to change his mind.

I am always open to having my mind changed if it is in a good cause.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 16 stand part of the Bill."

This section provides for the making of an agreement between one planning authority and another. The making of an agreement of that sort is a reserved function and I entirely agree with that. I intended to make that point in my Second Reading speech. The Bill tends to restore some of their functions to local authorities and that is a good idea and a healthy sign, but the point I really want to make is this. Section 16, subsection (1) says:

Two or more planning authorities may make and carry out an agreement for sharing the cost of performing all or any of their functions under this Act and, where an agreement has been made under this subsection, the planning authorities concerned may terminate it at any time if they so agree.

What is to happen if one planning authority wants to terminate an agreement and the other does not? Will we have the two of them tied together, one against its will? I cannot see any provision in the subsection whereby one planning authority which is not satisfied can by serving notice on the other terminate the agreement.

At the time the agreement was made, the legal advisers would undoubtedly cover what would happen in different eventualities, among them the very obvious one of disagreement. Provision for certain steps after so many months or a year would undoubtedly be inserted, if not by one authority's legal adviser, certainly by the other's. I could not see such an agreement which would not include the line to be followed in the event of a collapse on one side. What would happen if one became dissatisfied after a certain time would be part of the agreement.

The subsection as it stands leads one to believe that it could be terminated only by agreement.

Is the Minister satisfied that Section 7 of the Local Government Act of 1955 applies? If two local authorities enter into an agreement, their officers—and it is on them that responsibility for carrying out the agreement ultimately falls—are bound by Section 7 of the 1955 Act to carry out the agreement. That refers to an agreement between local authorities but this refers to development authorities. If Section 7 of the 1955 Act does not apply, then it would be impossible to give it effect.

Is it the Senator's point that unless Section 7 applies, nothing else makes this workable?

Unless Section 7 of the 1955 Act applies to agreements entered into. Those who have to carry through the agreement, the engineers or officers of both local authorities, are bound by Section 7 of the 1955 Act to carry out an agreement between two local authorities, but this provides for an agreement between two development authorities, not two local authorities.

I should say that on this section we are dealing only with the sharing of costs. We are dealing with the sharing of costs in relation to agreements at the moment.

It provides for making and carrying out agreements and the sharing of costs. Subsection (1) says:

Two or more planning authorities may make and carry out an agreement for sharing the cost of performing all or any of their functions under this Act and, where an agreement has been made under this subsection, the planning authorities may terminate it at any time if they so agree.

That presupposes that in the case of adjoining counties one authority do work for the other and they share the cost. It would mean that the officers of one would help the other. What I should like to know is whether the officers are bound to do so unless Section 7 of the 1955 Act applies.

Planning authorities are local authorities as far as the 1955 Act is concerned and, therefore, they would, in fact, come within the section.

You are satisfied?

That I believe to be the case.

There is some doubt about that and I think a considerable doubt.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 17 and 18 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 19 stand part of the Bill."

On the Second Stage, I raised the question whether planning for urban redevelopment would be part of a development plan. The Minister said he was happy to put my mind at rest but my mind is rarely at rest and I wish to raise the matter now in a more specific form.

Does Section 19, subsection (2) (a) (iii) really mean that no urban redevelopment can be done, no acquisition in connection with urban redevelopment can be done, unless it is shown on the map in the development plan? This is in connection with the general point I raised earlier. Section 19 refers to objectives. Would it not be possible for the planning authority to state, for example, that its objective was to prepare a scheme for the urban redevelopment of such and such a central city area? Would it not be possible for them merely to do that and leave out of the development plan an absolutely specific mark for every parcel of land and every structure to be compulsorily acquired? Is the Minister perfectly satisfied that under this Section 74 cannot be operated regarding an acre of land not designated for compulsory purchase under a development plan?

The situation as we see it is that before the development plan is made, the local authority would be entitled to acquire land for urban renewal. With regard to acquisitions and developments in relation to urban renewal, after the plan is made and adopted, we believe these would be expected to be shown in the plan. Whereas before the plan they might acquire for urban renewal, once the plan is made they will be expected to show that in the agreed plan.

That is an expectation rather than an obligation?

In other words, if they suddenly decided they need another city block for their urban redevelopment, the position would be that they would not have to have a variation of the development plan in order to acquire it.

Not necessarily.

This raises a point then that the acquisition of that extra block would be an executive function.

The decision would be an executive function.

And the power of the purse would be the only control the members would have.

Plus the Minister.

My point on the Second Stage was that this is such a vital matter it would be better if it were a reserved function. Under Section 74, I think the indications are that, before the adoption of the development plan, and any variations afterwards, there would be the question that the manager could proceed without getting this consent, except consent, of course, in regard to expenditure.

By regulation, by instruction and by model proposals after the enactment of this measure to planning authorities we will point out that any such development, as outlined, will require the concurrence of the local elected representative. It will be only in relation to little bits and pieces, supplementary or complementary to a broader and wider urban renewal project, already included in the plan, that I would express expectation rather than obligation. While it is possible legally and theoretically, perhaps, to do what is suggested here, it will be brought to notice very specifically that, in fact, that is not what they are to do. That should cover the point.

I am happy to have that assurance. I am a little puzzled about the wording of subsection (2). It reads:

A plan under this section shall consist of a written statement and a plan...

I am a little worried that we may be making the part equal to the whole here. I have no doubt the ingenuity of the Parliamentary Draftsman may have avoided any trouble, but is there any reason why it should be a development plan "shall consist of a written statement" without maps and drawings? What does a plan mean?

Maps and sketches, are not to be confused with what goes before a development plan. We inserted "development" in the Dáil. Originally it read "A plan shall consist of a written statement and a plan... including"; that was confusing even though quite sensible if read in relation to what the plan really meant. We put in the word "development" to distinguish it from a plan which we talk about later. A plan would include maps and sketches, as well as a written statement.

I hope the Minister does not get into further trouble in redevelopment when isometric drawing is held by some court not to be part of a plan.

We can only wait and see what a court may decide.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 20 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 21 stand part of the Bill."

I should like to press the point I made on the Second Stage. Subsection (1) of Section 21 reads:

(1) Where a planning authority have prepared a draft of a proposed development plan or of proposed variations of a development plan——

They shall do certain things. My point is that there is no obligation on a planning authority to prepare a draft of a plan. Everybody knows it is possible to prepare a plan and put it through without a draft. Everybody knows that, although it is customary to prepare a draft of a deed, it is not necessary to do so. One can have the finished article in one act. There are numbers of sections in Acts of Parliament which lend support to my argument. A court would hold, I think, that if an Act intended to make it obligatory on a planning authority to prepare a draft before preparing the plan, it would say so. In Section 33 (9) it is specifically stated:

Where any such direction as is referred to in subsection (1) of this section is proposed to be given by the Minister, a draft thereof shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and the direction shall not be given until a resolution approving of the draft has been passed by each such House.

In several Acts of Parliament it is laid down that before the Minister makes regulations he shall prepare a draft thereof and lay them before both Houses of the Oireachtas. It might be inconvenient for an authority to put through a plan without first preparing a draft, but that could be done and it could be done, in my opinion, without in any way infringing Section 21 of this Bill. Apparently this was raised before and apparently the Minister has considered it, but, if there is room for doubt, should it not be put right now instead of leaving it there and inviting a decision of the court on it at some future date?

One of the prerequisites to the adoption or the making of a plan is paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of Section 21 which reads:

(b) they shall cause notice of the preparation of the draft to be published in theIris Oifigiúil and in at least one newspaper circulating in their area.

Of the draft.

They must give notice of the preparation of the draft.

If they prepare a draft.

If they are to have a plan they must go through the paraphernalia one part of which is that they shall cause notice of the publication of the draft to be published. The local planning authority on whom we are relying will not be seeking loopholes to get out of having to tell the public what they are doing. I have been assured by the draftsman that it is a prerequisite of a plan coming into operation that all these things must be done.

I differ from the Minister. Paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of Section 21 comes into effect only after a plan has been prepared and, unless a planning authority have prepared a plan, they need not do any of the things mentioned. It may be that it is unlikely this will happen, but it is possible it will happen, and the safeguards outlined in subsection (1) of Section 21 are not really safeguards at all. There is no doubt that the things that are to be done under (a), (b), (c), and (d) need only be done if the draft is prepared. If what the Minister says is right, why does the section not say: "Before a planning authority prepare a development, they shall prepare a draft thereof" as is done in regard to all the things outlined in Page 16?

This specific wording was not used in the 1934 Act in regard to the preparation of a plan.

They never prepared any under that Act.

The courts held that in fact a draft was to be submitted so that the public would know what it was about, and it is not in the 1934 Act. We have had reiterated advice that this is so and that the plan cannot become a plan without a draft having been made available and known to the public beforehand.

Section 21 (1) (c) says:

Where the draft includes any provision relating to any structure proposed to be preserved because of its artistic, historic or architectural interest...

Where is a local authority given power to preserve any structure because of its artistic, historic or architectural interest?

Part IV, paragraph 5, of the Third Schedule.

I respectfully disagree with the Minister in his interpretation. A section like this which leaves room for argument should not be left in a Bill when it can be remedied and put beyond doubt without any expense to anybody.

If I saw a doubt, I would entirely agree with the Senator that this should not be so. I have not found a doubt and until it is shown to me there is a doubt, that there is a gap, I remain unconvinced, so there would not be any action for me to take.

We can agree to differ. However, there is another point in regard to Section 21 (1) (b) which reads:

they shall cause notice of the preparation of the draft to be published in theIris Oifigiúil and in at least one newspaper circulating in their area.

Provision should be made in the section and in all other relevant sections in the Bill for the insertion of this notice in a local paper. It is all right to say the local authority will invariably publish the notice in the paper circulating in the locality. That does not always happen and widely read local papers have complained from time to time that these advertisements are put in the national papers and not in the local papers. I know they are not precluded from putting it in the local paper but they are not obliged to put it in the local paper. Even in 1963 there is a great number of people in each county who do not read the daily newspapers but who read the local papers.

This is a matter which we did consider. In some places there are no local papers. In fact, we are standing in the heart of one such place. However, there are some other places where there would be no local paper and if such a provision were put in the Bill, it would cause confusion. That is why we have left it to the discretion of the local authority and said: "At least one newspaper circulating in their area."

I know there is nothing to preclude the planning authority from publishing it in the local paper. Might I suggest that the Minister, as a matter of policy, in relation to this Bill when it becomes an Act and any other such Bills, should direct local authorities to use the local paper where one is available?

I shall leave the local authorities to direct their officials to do that.

The officials are the authority.

Is the choice of newspaper an executive or a reserved function?

Some of the Senators here have a queer notion of the soft sort of people who are members of local authorities, that these executives can do what they like. They cannot do anything they like unless there is something wrong with the council.

As regards subsection (2) (c), what is the definition of a ratepayer in this paragraph?

One who pays rates.

Would that be to a particular planning authority or to any local authority in Ireland?

To any local authority.

Am I correct in thinking that notwithstanding Section 21, no appeal lies against the preparation of a development plan unless to the circuit court in the case of the right of way? Representations may be made and objections may be put forward and presumably the planning authority will consider them but no appeal lies to the Minister in this case?

This development plan is not an executive instrument and therefore there would not be any need for an appeal.

A directive?

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 22 stand part of the Bill."

Under subsection (3), does the Minister envisage that he will require a planning authority to vary a development plan other than for the purpose of co-ordination or for variation arising from appeal?

This would be primarily the reason but it does not exclude any other reason.

What other purposes would the Minister have in mind?

For instance, a plan could be submitted which was just a jumble of statements and maps which meant nothing. It would not be a plan at all and in such a case it would be returned and they would be asked to prepare a proper plan.

Apart from this, the Minister does not need to use this instrument in regard to planning on a regional basis?

Far from it. One of the reasons for it is to help such things, if it is necessary to come in and bring some uniformity of approach into this whole matter.

The Minister would seek co-ordination by consultative methods rather than by using this subsection?

Subsection (2).

He would just move under subsection (2) and only where one authority would be standing out as one among many would he tend to use subsection (3)?

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 23 to 25, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 26 stand part of the Bill."

I wish to refer to subsection (5) (b). Is it not possible for the Minister to impose on himself and his successors some appropriate period in regard to the giving of decisions on appeals? Sometimes an appeal is made by a hothead and it is not necessarily a sensible appeal and it takes a very long time for the Minister to give a decision. Could anything be done about that?

Nobody more than the Senator appreciates just what sort of matters are raised in these appeals and which necessitate the Minister consulting with other interests who are under no obligation, nor can we put them under any obligation, in relation to whatever approach we might have made. However, the bringing into operation of oral hearings should cut down very much on all this letter-writing and acknowledgements which eat up most of the time and cause the delays in these appeals. I think that will get over 75 per cent of the delay.

Subsection (5) provides the right of a third party to appeal. How would he appeal if he did not know that the application for permission was before the local authority?

By the register with which we have dealt earlier.

The application would go into the register. The permission would be given in two months and unless you check the register——

It may be that under the power given in this Bill we will prescribe that a notice must be posted on the site to the effect that permission has been given. We have given that matter great thought because that is a weakness that existed up to the present because people might not be aware until it is too late and then nothing could be done. We have gone into that pretty fully and we hope there will be no such grievance in the future.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 27 to 29, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 30 stand part of the Bill."

This is a tremendously dangerous provision in subsection (2) from the point of view of the developer. The situation could arise in which the planning authority has given permission to a person to develop a sector of land. The statutory period during which somebody could object passes and he starts operations on the 32nd day. He probably will spend £10,000 or £12,000 on the development of that site. This section gives the planning authority the right to have second thoughts on this business. The Bill says they must explain why they are having second thoughts and that might be very helpful but in the last line of the subsection, it says, in addition to every other consideration, "or any other material consideration". That is a highly dangerous term, that if any planning authority, or, let us say, the manager, in interpreting the planning authority feels——

I wonder if Senator Carton has the original Bill before him? I feel he must.

I apologise: it is not the amended Bill that I have. Now that I am on the matter, has that been changed?

It certainly does not read as the Senator read it.

If a planning authority gives me permission to develop a piece of land, they can revoke it, if they have second thoughts, but I could have spent £10,000 on developing that land. Earlier the Minister made a point that the planning authority is interpreted in its absence by the manager. The manager could have some material consideration and could put me into bankruptcy.

He can offer to buy it. Perhaps the Minister would elaborate?

The decision on such matters is a reserved function. Furthermore, compensation is payable so that there is no question of making anybody bankrupt. Whatever has been spent justifiably would be payable if there is a change of heart. It is most unlikely to arise except on rare occasions.

I am satisfied that it is a most unlikely situation but in the other Bill, in regard to injuries to amenities, as explained by Senator Stanford—I have only learned today what amenities are——

Does the Senator know now?

I shall have to learn Greek. They have a word for it.

I think we will all have to learn it.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 31 and 32 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 33 stand part of the Bill."

I should like to raise a point which arises on this and on other sections, that is, that an appeal lies to the Minister and not to an independant tribunal or arbitrator. Subsection (1) deals with the enforcement of planning control in relation to the structure which is unauthorised on the commencement of the appointed day and the subsection says that the planning authority, if they decide it is expedient to do so, and subject to subsection (9) of this section, "shall, if they are directed by the Minister so to do, serve a notice under this section on the owner and on the occupier of the structure." Subsection (4) provides that where the enforcement notice is served, any person may at any time before the day specified in that behalf in the notice, appeal to the Minister against the notice.

There you have a case where the Minister directs a planning authority to do a certain thing which affects the private individual and the only appeal the individual has against the action of the planning authority is to appeal to the very man who in the first instance may have directed that this particular step be taken. That is unreasonable. As I said earlier, I cannot see why the Minister has not provided for the appointment of an arbitrator. The money would be well spent and he would be fully occupied. A circuit court judge, or somebody of a similar standing, could be appointed to deal with these appeals.

I know that the Minister has a point when he says that if you have 30 or 40 judges all over the country dealing with these appeals you may have different interpretations of the same sections and you will not have uniformity in planning throughout the State. However, I think that if somebody of the standing of a circuit court judge or some other professional arbitrator were appointed and who would himself be fully conversant with the provisions of this Bill when enacted, he would be in a position to give decisions which would be favourable to everybody.

A right of appeal to the Minister in a matter of this sort is not acceptable to the people of the country. They are not satisfied that they get an impartial hearing. I do not mean to suggest they get a biased hearing or that the Minister would act from any ulterior motives but the people concerned simply have their cases tried by correspondence, at worst, or by an individual who is an inspector and who comes down from Dublin, at best. They do not get a decision there and then. The inspector goes back to Dublin. He reports to the Minister. It may be months afterwards before they get a reply from the Minister, in the form of a letter, saying that such and such has been decided. That never gives satisfaction and it could not be expected to do so. There is the position that you have a person appealing to the Minister against a decision taken on the direction of the Minister.

I have a great deal of sympathy with what Senator Fitzpatrick has said but his statement about a judge who would be able to give a decision pleasing to everybody seems a little over-optimistic. Even Solomon could not do that. I would have more sympathy with Senator Fitzpatrick if it were not for subsection (9) which appears to provide the greatest possible safeguard against misuse of any Ministerial power. It is not just a question of an order having to be made and coming into force after a certain number of days. In this case, a specific resolution must be passed by both Houses. I cannot imagine anything more designed to produce the white light of publicity and to ensure that no executive action would be taken to infringe on what it is proper to be done. It is a tremendous safeguard and much better than merely providing for appeal to some judge.

I have some sympathy with the idea that one judge should deal with all the types of things that appear in this Bill but I think he would be fairly overloaded with work and would not have much time to practise as a judge. In regard to this section, however, I doubt if he would ever have very much to do. I am not referring to the present Minister now but Minister for Local Government in general would hardly envisage I think, a great many executive actions under this section where each one has to be passed by a resolution of both Houses. I should not imagine this would be anything except a very occasional provision.

I was fully conscious at all times of subsection (9): I referred to it. I merely raise this point on this section. I am making the case for the appointment of an arbitrator to deal with appeals in general and I am availing of this section to do it.

I want to make the point that you can have the case here where the Minister directs a planning authority to do something. If he does so, we may assume that the planning authority in their wisdom thought it should not be done. It was necessary for the Minister to come down on them and to say: "Serve this notice: I think you should serve it." If the Minister comes into the Houses of the Oireachtas, on a local point like that, with a resolution, it is very likely that he will get it passed. However, we have not got subsection (9) in all the other sections of this Bill which deals with appeals.

I made it clear in my opening statement that I was making my case for the appointment of an arbitrator to deal with appeals in general throughout the Bill when enacted and that I was using this section to do it. I take it that Senator Sheldon would, in the absence of subsection (9), agree with me. If he goes through the further sections of this Bill, he will find a great number of cases where the only appeal a ratepayer or property-owner has is an appeal to the Minister without the protection of subsection (9).

If Senator Fitzpatrick takes the wrong section on which to fight, he will not put words into my mouth as well.

The Senator put the words into his own mouth.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 34 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 35 stand part of the Bill."

I do not think the enforcement section should be allowed to pass without a comment on how extremely desirable this section is and how every local authority, in particular I might mention Dublin County Council with which I associated myself, would have welcomed a provision of this type in years past. I think this is one of the very best things in the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 36 to 41, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 42 stand part of the Bill."

On this section and on the next section, is there any provision for prosecution or penalties in respect of the contravention of an amenity order?

No, there is no penalty as is recognised. The penalty would be to refuse permission for development. That, in itself, would be regarded as the penalty.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 43 stand part of the Bill."

I want to return to a point I made on Second Stage, that is, a hearing or inquiry in regard to an amenity order. Is it the position that a case can only be made in such an inquiry that the scope of the order be reduced?

I meant to reply to that. The Senator made this point on Second Stage and I overlooked it at the time. It is as he suspected it is. It does not extend; rather, would it be to reduce.

And no organisation which had a particular interest in an amenity would have anylocus standi at an inquiry?

Not any more than anyboly else.

Have they any at all, or would the objection be confined? Could an organisation be represented?

Anybody with any interest in the mater would be entitled to be heard at the public local inquiry. Whatever the effect of their evidence might be, none of us can say at this stage.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 44 to 47, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 48 stand part of the Bill."

This section provides for the creation of public rights of way. I entirely agree with what the Minister says that these rights of way could be created where they are absolutely necessary or reasonably necessary: I will go even that far. However, they should not be created lightly. The only provision in Section 48 against the creation of a public right of way is an appeal to the Minister, as far as I can see. I know there is also provision for payment of compensation in, I think, Section 63. It would appear that I am wrong in that and, if so, I shall hear what the Minister has to say.

One of the deterrents and one of the matters which will ensure that the town planning authority will be very honest and scrupulous in their approach is that they would have a duty to maintain this right of way and that would mean spending money on it if, in fact, they created it.

I am not suggesting that any public authority would act dishonestly.

Not dishonestly— lightly.

But it is quite possible they would act high-handedly and the owner of property should be afforded some protection other than what is afforded in this section by appeal to the Minister. A right of way might be necessary to a lake or some other amenity but there might be several sites for the right of way and the owner might say: "I will offer you a right of way which will not cause me injury." A high and mighty local authority might say: "We want that particular one and we shall insist on having it." What puzzles me is that this subsection, which provides for the creation of a new right of way, gives only the right of appeal to the Minister while Section 21 which deals, not with the creation of a right of way but confirmation of an existing public right of way provides for an appeal to the circuit court. The Minister thinks it is of sufficient importance to give an appeal to the circuit court in Section 21 (i) (d) which includes the case of the preservation of a public right of way. In that case, a notice must be served on all concerned and the person on whose land that public right of way is to be confirmed—it is only confirmed; it is not the creation of a new right of way; it seems to be a right of way about which there is some doubt—is given the right to appeal to the circuit court. That is very satisfactory. But where the planning authority or the Minister, under Section 48, create a brand new right of way no such appeal is given. What is the cause for the differentiation?

So far as the appeal to the Minister is concerned and protection from the high-handed council, the first great deterrent is that it would cost the council money and I do not think that in our time we shall see local authorities spending money where they might save it, by putting the right of way where the owner did not want it. That might be a good case for putting it there, but not merely doing it for the sake of annoying the person who owned the land.

The creation of a new right of way is being dealt with in the same way as the acquisition of land. A compulsory purchase order for the purchase of land for certain purposes such as housing is dealt with in the same way.

Why do you give an appeal in Section 21?

That is what I am asking myself. I was probably talked into it.

I think Senator Fitzpatrick should not lightly give way.

I will be steamrolled out.

That is a way of giving way. I would not have much faith in what the Minister apparently considers a deterrent, that is the expenditure the local authority would be called on to bear in maintaining the right of way. In the case of such public rights of way as do exist, I am not aware that the local authority spend money on them: certainly a great many have no money spent on them. I think the planning authority might insist for their own convenience in going a particular way which might be a great inconvenience for the land owner. The Minister's view is that it would be a good reason, if they would save money. I would not be prepared to accept that. A right of way can be a great nuisance. It is not a matter of what is trampled on but all sorts of side nuisances arise. Fences get broken because somebody is in too much of a hurry to open a gate. Rights of way create more trouble, practically, than anything else. I think Senator Fitzpatrick is right and that there should be a better right of appeal in this case.

I do not agree.

I divided Donegal.

If I had my way I would not, but divided or otherwise, it is still there and so are a great many of us. I think Senator Sheldon has taken me up incorrectly in my reply to Senator Fitzpatrick. When the latter made the point that a local authority might act high-handedly and at the same time save themselves money by going the most inconvenient but the shortest way through a man's property I said that might be a very good reason why they would so so. I did not mean it would be a good reason for upholding the council on appeal. If, on appeal, it was shown that it was unreasonable to interfere in this way with a man's property, that it would upset him or cause him undue hardship and if he came along and said that the council could go another way to which he would be quite agreeable, even if it were three times as long and as costly I think it would be a most unreasonable council that would propose to do this and it would be a more unreasonable Minister who would condone their proposal to spoil a man's land and break it up unreasonably while he was ready to offer an alternative site.

Section 48 says:

Where it appears to the planning authority that there is need for a public right of way...

That is a very strong word, "need". I have heard of so many people especially cranks, who, if they can avoid allowing scenic walks through their land, or access to the seashore, will do it unless the right of way can be proved by prescription or otherwise. This presupposes it cannot be proved by prescription. Does the Minister consider "need" is too strong? "Need" means that it is necessary but necessary for what? Necessary for a scenic walk? Yes. Necessary to get to the seashore? Yes. But it is "need" unqualified. Does the Minister think the word is too strong?

I should say that I would read it from the beginning: "Where it appears there is a need..." That is not quite as strong as if we take the word "need" in isolation, as was put to me just now.

What that means is that the planning authority have considered it. They have come to a conclusion. It appears to them that there is a need. "Need" is a very strong word and it might possibly negative the whole section. That is what is bothering me. This is one of the most important sections of the Bill—I cannot say it is the most important, but it is a very important section.

This is to avoid any necessity for interfering with a person's private property and the fear has been expressed that that might arise. That is the idea of obliging a local planning authority to be convinced, to be persuaded, that there is a need, and that is fair enough.

That will be fair enough if they are to be persuaded that there is to be a need, but need for what purpose? You have to prove need in the abstract, prove that it is necessary that they get this. In many cases despite inconvenience, a local authority cannot do certain things. They must do something costing £500 where they could do it simply by entering on a man's land. If they take a hump off the road, for instance, they cannot dump the rubble on a man's land. Do they need the land for amenities, a scenic walk or a visit to the seashore? However, I was just pointing this out but if the Minister and his officials are satisfied, I am happy. I think, however, there is a grave risk.

You must refer to the long title of the Bill when dealing with this. If you go back and read it you will see that it brings this in.

If you are happy, that is all right.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 49 to 55, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 56 stand part of the Bill."

Section 56, subsection (1) (a) provides that compensation shall not be payable:

In respect of the refusal of permission for any development that consists of or includes the making of any material change in the use.

I can appreciate that where the development consists entirely of a material change in use, compensation should not be paid. Indeed, that is largely in line with what the existing code provides, but it is provided here where a proposal includes making any material change. It is possible that this change of use might be a small portion of the total proposal but it appears from my first reading of the section that the prohibition is absolute and that no proportional payment of compensation can be made. One way out of it would be—I do not know if it would be possible under the Bill—that two separate applications could be made for development. Where the development consisted of an addition to a structure, plus a change of use, could it be the subject of two applications, one of which was excluded for compensation by the section and the other possibly included?

It is conceivable.

If it is not possible, the slightest element of change of use in a proposal cuts out compensation.

"Material" comes into it. In addition, I would suggest that section 58 provides certain discretionary powers. It is open to the Minister in respect of his functions under Sections 56 and 57 to depart from that which is said in Section 56 and to arrange that compensation shall be payable although Section 56 would seem to exclude it.

I was worried by the absolute nature of the exclusion as it appeared to me.

Section 58 waters it down.

We can rely on the Minister's generosity under Section 58 then to overcome Section 56?

It is the usual thing to expect.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 57 to 62, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 63 stand part of the Bill."

Section 63, subsection (2) says:

A claim under this section shall be made within (but not after)—

(a) six months after the time when the order creating the public right of way commences to have effect.

If this is a right of way through a farm to a beach or river and the order is made, say, in September, I submit that more than six months would have elapsed between then and the following summer so that the amount of inconvenience or of compensation based on the inconvenience caused by the public would not be known for at least a year. To protect the rights of the individual farmer, the period should be at least 18 months so as to give the new situation time to be fully tested. Would the Minister be kind enough to have a look at that?

In fact, discretion is given to the circuit court to allow a longer period than six months with that very possibility in mind, where six months would not be sufficiently long to show what the real damage was and where compensation based on the six months as laid down in the first part would not be real compensation because it would not be known what the compensation should be. Therefore the circuit court is empowered to extend the time within which such a claim can be made, if it thinks fit.

Does the Minister realise that Section 21 allows an appeal to the circuit court as does Section 63 also. He thinks the question of compensation for a right of way sufficiently important to go to the circuit court?

Not at all; that has nothing to do with it. The Senator, with the happy knack he has, makes it appear that this is one and the same thing. The circuit court is not dealing with planning policy. It is deciding only whether or not the time which should be allowed an appellant should be extended in order better to make his case. No planning policy is concerned so it is quite easy.

It is a right of way all the same.

Can an individual apply to the circuit court later than six months?

May he apply after six months have expired?

No; he must apply within six months and make a case why the court should extend the time in which he might fight his claim.

Surely a person can be quite willing to give a right of way and then after the public have misused it, take exception to it. He may not ask the court for compensation on the first day.

He cannot give his blessing today and renege on it tomorrow.

The public do not always appreciate a right of way. In a place where they get access to a river, they may leave gates open and give cattle access to crops so that considerable damage is done. When the farmer gives the right of way, he has not time to try out the arrangement. He will not know until after the first summer season whether the public are causing damage.

He would not know for 20 years if somebody unreasonable came along then and caused damage and you would not expect an extension for 21 years. One is as sensible as the other although that is an extreme case. When a right of way is created or is allowed to develop without any rights under the Bill at all, you may find trouble and damage years later which you could not possibly foresee, damage caused by virtue of your approach to the matter many years before. Had he known that would be the situation, he probably never would have allowed a right of way to develop, but we cannot just wait around to see if people will change in their attitude or the users of the right of way become a menace. We cannot just wait for that development. If there is any point in this suggestion that he may be satisfied within the six months but grow dissatisfied within 12 months, then he should give notice to the court that he may suffer a change of mind in 12 months, and let the court decide.

I suggest the period should be extended to 12 months. That would give him a better opportunity of gaining experience.

I am wondering rather about the machinery of it. Does the Minister envisage that anyone making, or proposing to make, a claim will have to decide on the damage? Does the Minister think six months will be a long enough period in which to determine the damage or should the person concerned immediately make some sort of claim to the court? I am not a lawyer, but what will happen is that anyone who is the owner of land over which a right of way is sought will probably claim to the circuit court. This could lead to the circuit court being overloaded because of the shortness of the period. I think a full year is a reasonable period in which to expect anyone could reasonably know what his claim would be.

It would also be to the advantage of people to go before the six months are up. If they go during that period, they are likely to have more effect, whereas, if they allowed the situation to go on developing, they would probably get next to nothing.

I am inclined to think a claimant could go to the circuit court after six months.

A claim could be made to the circuit court at any time.

Then all you people can advise. I have my view. If they have the right to go after the six months, that is all right, but do not say I did not warn you.

Is it the Minister's intention that there could be no claim after six months?

That is not what I said.

I understood the Minister to say that a claim must be made within six months.

That is to meet the person who does not find out about this in time.

It seems to me a claim could be made at any time.

That is all to the good.

This may have very far-reaching results. Generations later a claim could be made if some sudden rush came.

I will take anything.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 64 to 69, inclusive, put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 70 stand part of the Bill."

In view of the speed with which we are progressing, I shall have to preface my remarks now by saying, as Senator Fitzpatrick does, "It would appear": it would appear that there is under this section a complete prohibition on compensation under two enactments. Is that correct?

I do not think we go quite that far. Payment of double compensation for the same loss is all we are getting at; it need not necessarily be under two Acts.

It does prohibit double compensation in the case of compensation for the totality of the same matter. I wonder could there not be a case in which something was done which might be partially the subject of compensation under one code and partially the subject of compensation under another? What would the position be if the partial compensation under the non-planning code had already been paid? Is there then a prohibition under this section on the payment of the remainder of the compensation under the planning code?

Could the Senator give an example?

I cannot think of an example offhand.

It seems to me these would be two different happenings and they would not, therefore, be caught by this; in other words, there would not be two lots of compensation in respect of the same thing. There might be compensation in respect of separate parts of what could be regarded as the same thing. If that were so, they could in fact get compensation from two different sources, but not for the same thing.

The Minister says you cannot be compensated in respect of the same thing. Could they not be part of a thing?

Then they would be the same thing.

The two things could be both parts of a larger thing.

That would be three things.

The section, as it stands, seems rather absolute. It says "in respect of any... thing". What I am worried about is that one could be compensated in respect of one aspect of a thing under one code and compensated in respect of another aspect under another code. I feel the section is rather tightly drawn and there might be cases of hardship.

It is probably necessary to have it that way.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 71 to 81, inclusive, put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 82 stand part of the Bill."

There are very many points, indeed, which could be raised under Section 82 but at this hour of the night, I have no intention of raising them. There is, however, one matter I should like to put to the Minister. Is it his intention when he has recruited his planning staff, to separate this staff into two groups, one group responsible for planning and technical services and the other group a planning inspectorate to hold the various inquiries under the Bill?

That is the likely course.

From the point of view of how the various hearings would appear to the public, I would urge the Minister that the officials who act as ministerial inspectors for the purpose of these particular inquiries should not at any time be in technical consultation with the planning officers of the local authority. That would be very desirable. It is the practice in Britain that there is complete separation of staff between those who act as planning advisers to the Minister and, on the Ministerial inspectors for the purpose ties and the housing and planning inspectors. From the point of view of public relations, I urge on the Minister that as soon as the staff is large enough to divide, that division should be made. said something. We shall bear that in

Now the Senator has mind. It is right that it should be so, but I would not like to undertake not to use one and the same person for the moment. I do not think we will and I do not think we will have to.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 83 to 92, inclusive, agreed to.
First to Fifth Schedules, inclusive, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.
The Seanad adjourned at 10.25 p.m.sine die.