THE method of identifying areas of the county which are under development pressure has been strongly criticised by Swinford Councillor Joe Mellett.
According to the Draft County Development Plan, there were almost 3,000 houses for sale in areas around Ballina, Castlebar, Ballinrobe, Claremorris, Ballyhaunis and Swinford.
When Cllr Joe Mellet, an auctioneer by profession, asked Senior Planner, Ian Douglas, how the figure of 3,000 homes for sale had been arrived at, he was told it was taken from the property webside Daft.ie.
According to Cllr Mellett, the logic of this is "plain daft". The auctioneer told the meeting it was his professional experience that the same property could be listed up to three times under different auctioneers.
"I use Daft.ie myself, and it's a great website," Cllr Mellett told the Western People. "However, it is not intended to be an indicator of planning pressure and I would expect more scientific methods to be used to determine this.
"According to the website, there are 160 houses for sale in Swinford. Planners are taking this as an indication of strong urban pressure. But these figures don't stand up for the purposes of drafting a County Development Plan.
"The Swinford area should not be regarded as being under urban pressure. That would lead to a restriction of planning, which would be most unwelcome for the development of the area."
Cllr Mellett has undertaken to produce accurate figures for the number of houses available for sale in the Swinford area when the local authority meets on December 4th to continue its discussions on the plan.