THE way was cleared yesterday for a sports interpretive centre-cum-residential development by Kerry football legend Páidi Ó Sé on his property in Ard Bhothair, Ventry.
But, in deciding to give Mr Ó Sé the land rezonings he had sought, members of Kerry County Council refused to accept all the advice of their senior planners.
He requested that his pub and land, to the east of the business, be rezoned from prime special amenity to residential/opportunity and/ or rural/general.
Senior planning engineer Tom Sheehy said the rural/general rezoning would be acceptable, but the land could not be rezoned residential/opportunity.
“In the local area plan the council took a decision not to re-open residential zoning. Legally, we can’t do it and that’s the bottom line,” he said.
He also pointed out it was council policy not to allow holiday homes in rural areas.
But councillors unanimously rowed in behind Mr Ó Sé, who was in the public gallery, and voted for both zonings to be included in the county development plan 2009-2015.
The proposal was made by FF councillor Michael O’Shea, seconded by Independent councillor Michael Gleeson.
The zonings will facilitate the erection of a sports interpretive centre in the existing pub functions room area and a residential development to provide accommodation for family members, employees and people attending conferences in the interpretive centre.
FF councillor Paul O’Donoghue said Údarás na Gaeltactha was supporting Mr Ó Sé’s application which would help create jobs and attract visitors to the area.
“This is exactly what we should be doing — trying to help people create jobs,” Mr O’Donoghue went on.
“We can amend rules and procedures to provide jobs. This is a superb, innovative proposal which will help the community.”
Mr Gleeson said he had visited the site and could not see any substantial problem with what was being proposed.
“It’s a valid and fair request for rezoning,” he remarked.
While urging the council not to agree to a residential/opportunity rezoning, Mr Sheehy said a rural/general rezoning would not preclude a material contravention if future developments were planned.
“With a rural/general rezoning, we could then deal with a planning application on its merits,” he said.