One of the Office of the Planning Regulator’s (OPR) core statutory functions is to conduct reviews of systems and procedures used by local authorities and An Bord Pleanála in the delivery of their planning functions. In this regard the OPR is implementing a programme of reviews under section 31AS of the Planning & Development Act 2000, as amended, whereby each authority in turn will benefit from a review, broadly over a six-year cycle.
The OPR initiated the pilot phase of its reviews programme in late 2020, selecting four authorities for inclusion on the basis of the variety of characteristics, in terms of location, scale, urban / rural settings, etc., across these authorities. The blend of planning contexts offers a good basis for the OPR to test its methodology for conducting reviews and to further inform subsequent phases of the reviews programme.
Galway City Council is included in the pilot phase of the programme, and I understand that the OPR is close to completing the draft report in relation to the general review of Galway City planning functions. In line with the statutory procedure, in the first instance, the draft report will be circulated to both Galway City Council and my Department for a consultation period before it is finalised and published.
It should be noted that arrangements have been put in place by all bodies under the aegis of my Department to facilitate the provision of information directly to members of the Oireachtas. This provides a speedy, efficient and cost effective system to address queries directly to the relevant bodies. The contact email address for the Office of the Planning Regulator is firstname.lastname@example.org.