Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Criticism of the county planners and An Taisce

From Southern Star:

Growing bitterness about the way planning applications are allowed and disallowed in Beara has become a major topic in the area, with much criticism of the county planners and An Taisce. At a meeting of the Cork County Council planners were attacked for not granting more permissions. for houses in rural areas to compensate for the restrictions imposed in the controversial three-mile limit in the 1996 County Development Plan. Councillors want to see more preference given to local people who apply to put up houses in areas where building it as present severely restricted to preserve scenes of natural beauty. Locals believe that tight regulations are preventing people who want to stay in the area from building the houses they need and they think local people should be able to share the benefits of rising land values. They are also keen to see more building going on to create jobs in of high unemployment.
Councillors of all parties, particularly those representing Beara want planning rules relaxed to benefit local people rather than outsiders, including outsiders who are building holiday homes on sites which have been granted planning permission for dwellings. Resentment often arises because outsiders have the money to buy sites where there is planning permission which local people cannot afford.
Locals are also concerned about the apparent ease which people from outside the area have been receiving planning permission while local people are refused. A recent case is one near Castletownbere where a young local
fisherman who applied for planning permission to build a house on his own land, was refused four times. The reason given by the local engineer was that the exit would be on to the main Castletownbere/Allihies Road, while a short distance away outsiders were granted planning permission to build second and holiday homes only a few yards from the same road.
Locals are also highly critical of An Taisce and say that they are faceless people acting against local interests.

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