Wicklow residents should have their say on the new County Development Plan. Why bother? Because when it comes to Residential Planning the new policy will guide the decisions taken by planners between 2016 and 2022. Why now? The public consultation deadline is approaching fast, Tuesday the 23rd December.
People deserve to have their say in decisions that could affect them down the road. This is a rare opportunity for us in between elections. The people of Wicklow have the opportunity to play a part in deciding how planning decisions will be made over the next decade. The clock is ticking.
It must be acknowledged that the ‘Development Plan’ – to be decided on by Wicklow’s 32 councillors – is ultimately a ‘vision document’: if you look at the existing plan you’ll see that it’s full of lovely language and big ideas. However, It lacks concrete details of where investment will go, and crucially, where the money will come from. That’s an unfortunate situation. From what I’ve heard it’s been this way for years.
But, and it’s a big But, if we the residents of Wicklow are serious about questioning the status quo and holding local government (councillors) and administration (council staff) to account then, as with referenda and constitutional conventions, we must speak up when we get the opportunity. That opportunity is now. When it comes to ‘Planning and Settlement’ policy the existing plan acknowledges the importance of breathing life into towns such as Wicklow and Arklow and suggests that planning decisions must strive to save these communities from becoming dormitory towns. The policy says that infrastructure, enterprise and social services must be stepped up to revitalise communities.
Has this happened? No, clearly not. While it’s obvious to anyone that the last 6 years have been tough for Ireland and for Wicklow, and ultimately money doesn’t grow on trees, the fact is that we have a ‘vision document’ for Wicklow which is full of dreams but light on detail. Wicklow residents, whatever their views are, should email their online submissions to Wicklow County Council by Tuesday the 23rd of December which is the deadline for public submissions. I will be making my online submission available at JamesDoyle.ie.
If you would like to make an online submission to Wicklow County Council visit Wicklow.ie, or alternatively you can email your submission and any attachments to Planreview@Wicklowcoco.ie.
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