Concerns over house building in rural areas in Tipperary
Concerns about limitations on the building of houses in rural areas under the new County Tipperary Development Plan have been expressed by councillors as they agreed on Friday last to allow the plan, which is currently in draft stage, to go to public consultation.
Nenagh Municipal councillor Joe Hannigan said that while he was happy for the public to now view the draft document and have the opportunity to make submissions, he was concerned about the implications and challenges the plan posed for the future of development in high amenity areas as existed in his district.
Another Nenagh councillor Seamus Morris, who is opposed to plans by Irish Water to extract water from the Shannon to supply the greater Dublin area, said it was asserted in the new draft plan that its aim was to protect the environment of all of Tipperary. But he felt there was nothing in the document that would help protect Lough Derg “which will be destroyed for ever and a day”.
Adding there was was still a lot of work to be carried out on the draft, he said: “We have a long way to go with this to protect our environment and landscape for future generations.”
Eamonn Lonergan, a Director of Services, said the aim of the new plan was to protect the environment and landscape of Tipperary. He said a huge volume of work by officials and councillors had already taken place in the drafting of the plan and urged communities across the county to make submissions so that their views would be reflected in future policy.
Cllr Roger Kennedy said that what was contained in the plan was not perfection. “It is not everybody’s cup of tea. We cannot get perfection but let us now put it on public display and let the people have their views.”
Cllr Michael Anglim said a good few councillors, including himself, were not overly happy with what was in the draft. He said he had particular concerns in regard to restrictions of house building on regional roads within the county.
Cllr Michael Fitzgerald also referred to the future implications for building houses on regional roads and added that he had concerns over “totally victimising the people”.
He said that formerly there was a provision for a county development plans to be amended through the provision of a “material contravention” process. But such a facility did not exist any more. It was right that the plan was now being put to the public to get their views, and if the public raised strong objections to anything in the draft then those objections or concerns would have to be dealt with before the plan could progress towards final approval by the council.
CARROLL IN FAVOUR
Nenagh councillor John Carroll said he would not be opposing the introduction of the new plan which, he felt, might need yet need “minor improvements” included in the final draft. He felt there were issues that needed to be addressed in regard to future development in high amenity “green pressure” areas as existed in his own municipal district of Nenagh. The council had to bring the people with it and show that positive change was the aim in the future development of the county.
Cllr Máirín McGrath said she did have some concerns about provisions in the draft as they related to “ribbon development rules”. What she wanted to see were policies that made it easier for young couples to build houses in the countryside. Restrictions in regard to building houses along regional roads would have to be addressed in the final draft of the plan.
Cllr Kevin O’ Meara said it would be very unfair if the council was going to refuse young couples planning permission to build on sites along regional roads if the farm family providing the site had no alternative land elsewhere to offer.
Cllr Sean Ryan said any plans to stop people building on what he termed “strategic routes” in the county would be very difficult for people to accept. He called for an extensive advertising campaign in the local media to make the public aware that they now had the opportunity to make submissions on the plan.
Cllr Micheál Lowry said a message seemed to have got out to the public that the council intended closing down planning in the county under the proposed new plan. This was misinformation and the message needed to be put out that this was not the case. An issue still for all councillors was that people be allowed to build homes for themselves in the areas where they were born and reared.
Cllr Lowry said the council did need to look at how it was going to address the problems of ribbon, or “linear development” on regional roads. “We need to try to break the cycle of bad planning over the last 40 years, to come up with a solution and break that cycle.”
He hoped that the period of public consultation would now allow for a process of fresh views and new eyes to be cast on the proposed plan, which, he hoped, might bring forth solutions that councillors and officials had never thought of.
Mr Lonergan said a consultation portal was now open for people to engage with the council on the plan. There were a lot of interested parties such as architects, engineers and technicians out there who were well qualified to make valuable contributions to the future development of the county.
Council CEO Joe MacGrath said there was still a long way and a lot of work to do before a final plan was put to councillors for adoption. “We’re not even at half time in the game,” he said of the plan which will apply from 2022 to 2028. The final plan would be as strong as the input that local communities contributed to its drafting. It was important now that the voice of communities was heard by way of the ten week public consultation process. The plan would set out future policy on the development of towns, villages and the countryside and promote economic development and care for the environment.