The Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2016, which provides for the establishment of the Office of the Planning Regulator, is currently progressing to Report Stage in the Seanad. Once it is enacted, I will be in a position to set an establishment date for the Office.
My Department has been making such preparations in advance of the establishment of the Office as are possible, while awaiting the enactment of the legislation. An implementation plan has been drawn up, funding is in place and a steering group is being set up within the Department to guide the practical set up of the Office. Once appointed, the Regulator will continue the work that my Department has been engaged in to set up the Office.
In relation to potential breaches of development plans, it should be noted that my Department continues to monitor the preparation of plans by local authorities in order to ensure that they are consistent with established national planning policies and legislative requirements. In the case of any identified breaches of national planning policy requirements, I have the authority, under section 31 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, to direct a local authority to take appropriate corrective measures. Section 31 provides for a statutory consultation exercise, including public notices, and the receipt of submissions from the general public before any direction is finalised.
Where a member of the public has a concern about a specific planning decision, they can appeal that planning decision to An Bord Pleanála in the normal way.