An Bord Pleanála should be allowed review local authority development plans and even veto council decisions on land rezoning, the country’s planning association has said.
The Irish Planning Institute accepted such a move would mean power being taken away from elected councillors. IPI chairman Brendan Allen admitted it could mean planners and councillors being on a "collision course".
Mr Allen was speaking ahead of an IPI national conference later this month amid continuing concern over elements of the planning process and the issue of unfinished ghost estates around the country.
The recently published Mahon Tribunal report highlighted serious flaws in the planning process spanning decades, and recommended the setting up of an independent regulator to review development plans at local authority level.
Mr Allen said An Bord Pleanála already had capacity to fulfil that function, instead of the Government having to set up "another quango".
Extending the powers of the planning appeals’ board would mean it could carry out a public inquiry during the forming of a county development plan.
It would also mean, he said, the board could reverse a decision to rezone land for residential development, for example, where that land was in a flood plain.
"The majority of land is often zoned correctly but there are anomalies," Mr Allen said.
It would mean power being taken away from planners and councillors. "They might not like it and it could mean we may be on a collision course with them."