Homelessness and the housing crisis, the retail future of towns, sustainable transport in the regions, and factors influencing developers’ decisions and issues of access to development finance, will be high on the agenda at this year’s Irish Planning Institute conference in April.

The Irish Planning Institute (IPI) will also outline its priorities for planning reforms and the changes necessary in order to have an effective and functioning planning system that works for everyone.

‘Is the Irish planning system fit-for-purpose?’ will be the central question addressed at the IPI conference on 6-7 April at the Castlecourt Hotel in Westport, featuring keynote speaker Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government, on Friday April 7.

Other key speakers include Deirdre Fallon, IPI President; Hubert Fitzpatrick, Director of Housing and Planning, CIF; David Fitzsimons, Chief Executive Officer, Retail Excellence; Martin Murray, Architect, Passive House Association of Ireland; Peter Hynes, Chief Executive, Mayo County Council; Niamh Randall, Head of Policy and Communications, Simon Communities of Ireland, and Carol Tallon, Author of ‘Irish Property Buyer’s Handbook series.

An engineer and a construction foreman review blueprints.

The conference will be of interest to policy-makers, planning professionals, property developers, council chief executives and elected representatives, among others.

It will include field visits, a looped walking tour of the historic core and quay area of Westport, which celebrates its 250th anniversary this year.

This will highlight the successful development of Westport Town into two distinct areas connected by a former railway line and now a successful urban greenway.

Separately, a bus tour will visit the linked hub town of Castlebar and take in the extension of the Great Western Greenway.

Click here to view the full conference programme.