A report published today (19th September 2023) by the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) has found that Waterford City & County Council is providing its key planning functions effectively.
This is the first time that the systems and procedures used by Waterford City & County Council’s planning department have been reviewed by the OPR. The report considers the Council’s performance across a range of functions and makes ten recommendations as to how existing service levels can be maintained and improved.
Commenting on the review, Planning Regulator, Niall Cussen said:
“Waterford is a key asset for Ireland in terms of its location, ability to compete nationally and internationally along with capacity to grow and rebalance some of the prevailing development trends of recent decades. The Council has delivered notable successes in recent times including the outstanding Waterford Greenway and leveraging record funding for the flagship North Quays regeneration project. I would like to see this momentum built on to further deliver on the opportunities that are presenting for Waterford over the coming period”.
An overarching recommendation arising from the review is that the Council would give sufficient consideration towards the planning department’s longer-term resourcing needs. While the Council has achievements to be proud of, the planning department has been delivering against a background of significant pressures on resources.
Commenting on the need for additional resourcing, Mr Cussen continued:
“It must be recognised that delivering on Waterford’s intended role as a regional driver for the south-east must be facilitated through a strengthened planning department. The OPR would like to see the planning department taking time to reflect on how it is organised to meet its current and future workloads and strengthen its capacity.”
The OPR’s report also recommends that the Council build on its existing proactive approach to special projects by providing dedicated resources to coordinate site activation projects – a recommendation that has been fulfilled since the review process was conducted through the establishment of a new team tasked with delivering on active land management, including derelict and vacant sites.
Noting this Mr Cussen concluded:
“I very much welcome that Waterford City & County Council has committed to implementing the review recommendations, and is already making progress in this regard. My office will continue to engage with the Council in order to monitor progress and assist in any way possible”.
- READ FULL REPORT – OPR Planning Review – Waterford City and County Council