Are you in favour of the Laois Rezonings?

Home Forums Ireland Are you in favour of the Laois Rezonings?

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    • #707658
      Paul Clerkin

      Recent blanket rezonings in the Laois draft county development plan have been a source of controversy. With 29 villages proposed to be have land rezoned from agricultural to land for housing, on top of 3 other urban centres also to be rezoned, we felt that time to give you a say –

      Proposed rezoning of 29 villages in Co. Laois:

      The “YES” Argument:

      With the potential for almost 1/5 social housing, this policy that will alleviate Dublin’s accommodation needs, curtail the spread of bungalows, and halt rural depopulation. Co. Laois is a relatively poor county; this is local democracy working for local people, and should hopefully lead to development and growth – providing both houses and employment. It is a template policy that should be adopted by other county councils.

      The “NO” Argument:

      The proposed blanket rezonings constitute one of the worst planning policys mooted since the foundation of the state. It does not make sense to yet again build housing estates at points where there are not sufficient services. The social housing provision may sound attractive, but it is likely that the council shall simply “harvest” the potential and settle for cash. Equally one blanket policy cannot deal with the conflicting needs of a county that has rural depopulation in the west, while also being under development pressure from the encroaching commuter belt in the east.
      In breach of both National Spatial Strategy and Regional Planning Guidelines, this is a recipe for badly planned, ill-serviced rural ghettoes and if not abandoned, the DoE should step in and halt the rezonings.

    • #750972
      Paul Clerkin wrote:
      The “YES” Argument:

      With the potential for almost 1/5 social housing, this policy that will alleviate Dublin&#8217]

      Thats rubbish there aren’t that many poor people down here, we look after our own don’t you know. As for the bungalows nothin is goin to stop people who want a house on a bit land gettin a house, this will only lead to higher site prices as people on the edge of the zoned land think it will be them at the next rezoning.

      I am going to be busy

    • #750973

      Minister for the Environment Dick Roche is to link State spending on sewerage facilities to the national spatial strategy in an attempt to frustrate “maverick” land rezoning.

      Mr Roche, who will today introduce the State’s first comprehensive audit of sewerage facilities, has told local authorities that land rezoning that does not follow regional planning guidelines will not be serviced.

      The audit of sewerage facilities, which took two years to complete and cost €2½ million, details an investment of more than €1 billion in town and village sewerage systems in the State over the past decade. It also addresses issues of water pollution in the major river catchment areas.

      Mr Roche will use funding for waste-water treatment plants as a weapon to “frustrate” attempts by local authorities to undertake “maverick” rezoning.

      Such large-scale rezoning can be attractive to local authorities as they come with the prospect of sizable financial windfalls.

      The potential gains become available when a planning authority rezones land for more housing than is required locally.

      In granting planning permission for housing, a planning authority has the power to ask for up to 20 per cent of the development for social and affordable housing under Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000.

      Where the authority does not need so many houses, it is empowered to take land or money instead. In this way a local authority’s share of a 600-house development could amount to 55 houses and about €10½ million.

      In the case of Co Laois, a large-scale rezoning of up to a dozen villages, as proposed by councillors earlier this year, could represent a windfall for the council of tens of millions of euro.

      But Mr Roche has said his department is not prepared to pick up the bill for waste-water treatment plans and other services where he believes the rezoning is aimed at enriching the local authority.

      Where he believes local authorities are simply cashing in on the Part V clause, he will “move to frustrate that”, he said.

      The Minister is also anxious that county development plans follow regional planning guidelines that themselves support the growth centres identified in the National Spatial Strategy.

      The key objective of the strategy is to create balanced regional development that prioritise “gateway” and principal towns. The department is, however, concerned at deals where property developers offer to put in sewerage facilities in return for land rezoning. In north Co Wicklow, a consortium of property developers funded sewers linking Newtownmountkennedy to the Greystones/Kilcoole main sewer, in a move that facilitated large-scale development.

      In the current draft of the Meath county development plan the lack of sewerage facilities in east Meath was a major brake on ambitions to rezone land around the villages of Gormanston, Stamullen and Bettystown.

      The department is also concerned that the acceptance of such a deal by an authority has the potential to subvert the planning process as developers would have to be given assurances on planning permission before they made an investment.

      © The Irish Times

      Will this be enforced one must wonder

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