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Cost and length of SID Planning Process for Major Schemes

  • 06-10-2018 7:25pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭ highwaymaniac


    The time taken to get major infrastructure schemes from concept phase through the statutory approval process seem to be getting longer and longer.

    Take for example the N6 Galway City Ring Road and N69/N21 Foynes to Limerick scheme. Both commenced design in early 2014 - 4.5 years later and they are still not lodged for planning with An Bord Pleanala. That process will take a year or so and throw in the seemingly inevitable judicial review or two these days and you are looking at 6.5 years before the schemes get approval.

    Reasons for this? Probably Councils and their consultants are scared of challenges from serial environmental objectors and NIMBYS? Thus are being overly cautious and going into way too much design detail on the preferred route for schemes with no indication that the route is the correct one or that the scheme will obtain Government funding. (M20 Cork Limerick motorway is a case in point here!)

    An Bord Pleanala may not agree with the route chosen or the cross section. (N22 Macroom Bypass was recommended for refusal by the inspector because he did not agree with a dual carriageway for the western half of the scheme! he was overruled by ABP thankfully!)

    Maybe it is time to have a two stage planning process. Phase 1 could be approval in principle for the scheme, i.e justification and need for the scheme, Business Case, whether a road is the correct solution or where more public transport elements are required and whether the cross section is justified i.e single or dual carriageway. I am not sure whether you would include the preferred route corridor in Phase 1 or not.

    This would allow Phase 2 to progress in parallel with any Judicial Review etc on the principles of the scheme. Take the current N6 Galway City Ring Road as an example. The route selection report was published in March 2016 over 2.5 years ago. So they have been at least 2.5 years working through all the detail of the preferred route. ABP could turn around and say we don't agree with the preferred route or say implement the public transport measures first, assess after a year or two and then come back to us with the ring road. This would be an awful waste of time and money. To me its a huge gamble that you have picked the correct route and have the right proposals only to spend another 2.5 years going into an inate amount of detail on the proposed route before lodging for planning.

    A good example of this was the N86 Dingle to Annascaul road improvement - this was originally refused by ABP because they said the proposed cycletracks were unjustified. This subsequently overturned by the High Court in favour of the Council. A preliminary hearing by the board would have highlighted this issue very early in the project.

    Same could be said for other infrastructure schemes e.g. Dart Underground or MetroLink where there is a significant amount of debate on the need for the schemes and alternative options. An enormous amount of design work will go into these schemes before they go for planning. e.g. ABP may not accept the proposed route for the Metro link along the green luas line.

    The process is just taking way too long and costing far too much money. What do people think? What changes should be made?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,989 ✭✭✭ DaCor


    While you have several inaccuracies in your post, I get the gist.

    However, you are only focusing on one side of the coin, the review process.

    Simply put, this could all be easily sped up by increasing resources.

    More for the applicants to speed up the design, drawing, land reg review, legal prep etc

    More for ABP and the courts to speed up the review process.

    Case in point, the Galway ring road. No way that should have taken as long as it did for the design.

    Just throw enough money at both sides and it will be done faster


  • Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭ highwaymaniac


    DaCor wrote: »
    While you have several inaccuracies in your post, I get the gist.

    However, you are only focusing on one side of the coin, the review process.

    Simply put, this could all be easily sped up by increasing resources.

    More for the applicants to speed up the design, drawing, land reg review, legal prep etc

    More for ABP and the courts to speed up the review process.

    Case in point, the Galway ring road. No way that should have taken as long as it did for the design.

    Just throw enough money at both sides and it will be done faster

    Thanks for the reply. Happy to correct any inaccuracies.

    Completely agree with Galway ring road, way too long, but it is fairly complicated, really can't understand why Foynes Limerick is taking so long.

    Absolutely more funding needed for ABP, they need to triple the funding being made available. There is usually only one inspector at oral hearings, what if something happens them or they resign before their report is ready. There should be 3 inspectors for SID projects.

    Whilst throwing more money at the design may speed the process up a bit, I don't think it's the solution. I think there was €20million spent on the M20 planning before Leo pulled the plug. That's an awful lot of money, I'd hate to see even more wasted! My point is that serious amounts of time and money need to be expended before any decision or indication is received from the board. There has to be a better way - ie getting an initial approval in principle etc.


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