Clare is the worst county in Ireland to live if you’re looking for planning permission, architects claimed today.
The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) said its survey of members revealed the Banner county had lowest levels of satisfaction with planners.
Clare County Council rubbished the claims, insisting its own recent in-house customer survey showed the general public were happy with 70% of its services.
The RIAI said Sligo County Council had the highest rating when it came to satisfaction levels with the planning process.
Eight out of 10 architects polled believe planning decisions taken in councils around the country do not support good design.
Sean O Laoire, President of the RIAI, also complained that planning practices varied wildly from one local authority to another.
“This lack of consistency is wasting the resources of architects who have lodged planning applications as well as that of the local authorities themselves,” he said.
“The survey results show that we are not in a position to deliver quality in the built environment with current planning practices”.
Mr O Laoire said architects were frustrated by barriers to communicating with council planners.
But John Bradley, a senior planner with Clare County Council, dismissed RIAI concerns that planners regularly have no architectural qualifications.
“Most councils have very experienced and very dedicated staff,” he said.
“Any staff member that comes into our organisation, certainly as a planner, has to have very high technical qualifications, which are determined by Department of Local Government.”
Most planners would have two degrees, plus a Masters degree as well as other specialist qualifications in heritage, conservation and archaeology, he said.
Mr Bradley insisted Clare County Council had taken great strides to make its planning service available to the public through guides, the internet and planning clinics.
“Clare County Council is very much customer orientated,” he said.