Collins Says Regional Planning Policy is Anti-Rural

By Seamus Whelehan

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Regional planning guidelines intended to boost the development of housing in key towns and cities, will create a gross inequality between the affluent and ordinary people who struggle, Cllr Noel Collins has claimed.
In an open letter to the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Cllr Collins has urged Minister Richard Bruton to operate a more flexible housing policy, to support delivery of rural housing and self-build homes.
The call comes ahead of deliberations on the County Development Plan 2020 – 2025 which is set to be debated shortly.
“There seems to be a lack of planning restriction for housing built by millionaire developers, ranchers, chequebook tycoons and speculators.”
“The evidence is there. There is gross inequality in how planning rights are applied, to the rich on the one hand, and ordinary people who struggle on the other” he said.
The Midleton based Cllr said there is also a need to streamline the planning process “to make it more capable of dealing with consultation, public enquiries, environmental impact statements and planning policies.”
The new Planning Laws that are set to form the basis for the development of Cork County over the next 18 months, could see the end to one off housing in rural areas.
The new rules form part of the Government’s planning framework, ‘Project Ireland 2040’ aimed at encouraging ‘cluster living’ around towns and villages.
Only a small number of people have spoken out against the “injustice of planning laws” Cllr Collins said.
“Many refrain from highlighting their case because they fear that it will jeopardise any slim chance they may have of obtaining Planning Permission” he says.
Mr Collins concluded “nobody wishes to see the Irish countryside blotted, but a blanket ban is unnecessary. There will always be room for compromise, thus ensuring that rural Ireland remains vibrant.”
“Rural Ireland deserves recognition, now!” he said.

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