The aim of the guidelines is to provide a long-term framework for the overall development of the region, which will be reviewed in 2010.
When the Government launched the National Spatial Strategy in 2002 it emphasised the need to put Regional Planning Guidelines in place as quickly as possible to enable the spatial strategy proposals to be implemented at regional level.
Launching the planning guidelines in Nenagh, chairman of the Mid-West Regional Authority Cllr Martin Lafferty said the guidelines would have a major impact on the location of industrial and commercial developments, the provision of healthcare, retail and other community developments and the protection of the environment.
He said the guidelines would be crucial in ensuring balanced regional development.
During the preparation of the planning guidelines document, a total of 37 separate submissions were received and considered.
Cllr Lafferty said the process in preparing the guidelines commenced with the placing of advertisements in local newspapers regarding the matters that should be addressed in drawing up the planning guidelines.
“A steering committee, consisting of officials from the local authorities, Department of Transport, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Shannon Development and the director of the Regional Authority was established to oversee the preparation of the planning guidelines and the regional economic strategy,” he said. The draft document was approved by the regional authority in February 2004 and circulated to a range of organisations for opinions and observations.
To assist in the public consultation process, 16 information meetings were convened in the region.
A further series of 13 consultation meetings were held with county/city councils, town councils and county development boards.
Cllr Lafferty said: “The planning guidelines do not seek to replace the roles and responsibilities of existing national and local authorities or to replace existing national or regional policies.”
He said the successful implementation of the regional planning guidelines will require the continued full cooperation of all public authorities and local authorities, and this was evident during the preparation of the guidelines.