AN online consultation portal alongside videos, webinars and public events are just some of the measures Clare County Council has developed in a bid to encourage public engagement with the preparation of the Clare County Development Plan 2022-2028.
Details of the communication methods, which will also include traditional and social media, were released at a meeting of Clare County Council, at which Councillor PJ Ryan stressed the importance of keeping the public informed on changes to the plan.
The councillor urged the Council to “put in place a robust communication system to inform people whose property status changes in the new county development plan and also communicate with communities where alternative energy zoning is under consideration”.
He stated that he has met members of the public after the completion of development plans who were not aware of changes that would affect their properties.
“I think the traditional way of conveying to people is just not working, we need to come up with new ways.”
He suggested that community councils could be utilised to inform the public of potential changes in the development plan saying, “this could sort out a lot of problems down the road.”
The motion was seconded by Councillor Ian Lynch who said “it would not be a mammoth task” to get the addresses of those affected by changes to the plan and write to them.
Councillor Joe Cooney suggested the Council engage in the public consultation process and promote this in the media.
He said there an onus on the public to look at the development plan to see how it might affect them. If there was a major change, however, “maybe that person should be made aware before it comes into law”.
Leas Cathaoirleach, Councillor Pat Burke, also supported the motion.
Liam Conneally, Director of Service in his response stated, “The Planning Authority is committed to fully engaging with stakeholders and communities as part of the Clare County Development Plan 2022-2028 plan preparation process.
“The next stage of stakeholder/public engagement will take place in August 2021 when the Draft Plan will be placed on public display for a period of not less than 10 weeks.
“Notice of this consultation stage will be in the local radio and print media as well as online through the Council’s social media accounts.
“Also during this consultation period it is intended to host public consultation events across the county (subject to Covid restrictions) where local communities and individuals can discuss the emerging plan with planning department staff members.
“Videos and webinars are being developed to assist in engaging the public/stakeholders in the plan-making process and these will be available for viewing online.”
He said a new online consultation portal has been developed which will for the first time allow the public and stakeholders make submissions online if they so wish. This would be in addition to the traditional method of receiving submissions via e-mail and post.
He added, “A dedicated webpage has been set up where all interested parties can find all the information about the Plan making process in one centralised location clarecdp2022-2028.clarecoco.ie/
“In the event that Covid restrictions do not permit town hall type consultation events I have asked that Planning Department staff examine various ways to host community/stakeholder consultations. By Q3 and Q4, 2021 I hope and anticipate that there will be an opportunity for more traditional engagement by all concerned.”