Online system to streamline the planning process

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Applying for planning permission is set to become easier with the introduction of a new online application system, lead planner Cathaldus Hartin told members of Westmeath County Council’s Planning and Transport SPC at their last meeting .

The LGMA (Local Government Management Agency) is driving the roll-out of the new e-planning system, and local authorities have set up an online portal to facilitate new requests. The site also facilitates submissions by the public and other parties.

Westmeath is part of the Wave One rollout, Mr Hartin said. While it had been planned for the end of October, the project is ahead of the deadline.

He explained that staff training has been done, as well as webinars for planning consultants.

“When this portal is open to the public, we will communicate through our social media channels, our press releases and through our online mailing lists to our planning consultants,” he concluded.

Cllr Denis Leonard noted that the amount of planning information that can now be assessed online, “compared to having to go to an office years ago and go through all kinds of documents”, was the welcome.

However, he hopes the paper option will also remain “somewhat available” as many people do not feel comfortable with the electronic world.

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