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OPR in ‘war of words’ over rural planning

Words: Roger Milne
Wexford / Kristin Gray Photography, Shutterstock_1473991115

The planning regulator Niall Cussen became embroiled in a war of words this week after Independent TD Verona Murphy accused him of a ‘Stalinist assault’ on local democracy following claims in the Dail that he was ‘out of control’ and making recommendations that would ruin rural areas like those in County Wexford, which she represents.  

The Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) has recommended changes to the draft Wexford County Development Plan, including measures on the location of rural housing.

During his appearance in front of an Oireachtas housing committee this week the planning watchdog dismissed the TD’s criticism as “unhelpful and inaccurate”.

“There seems to be a pattern in that and other subsequent commentary seeking to suggest our statutory role in the plan-making process is attempting to restrict rural development. Far from it,” said Cussen, pointing out his office was bound by law to ensure that local authorities implement national and regional policy.

Image credit | Kristin Gray Photography, Shutterstock